Topical information around the local effects of the pandemic is provided online on Bonn’s web pages and on Facebook. Press conferences have been streamed and numerous video statements by Bonn’s former Mayor Ashok Sridharan have been recorded. Assistance and relief measures of all kind are on offer to reach out to local citizens and families in exceptional situations, counsel school children, inform and support Bonn’s elderly citizens and those with pre-existing conditions. Here are some examples:
Cleaning and equipping Bonn’s schools with hygiene accessories
All of our local schools are cleaned during the vacation periods throughout the year. The cleaning companies have been commissioned to carry out additional intensive cleaning and render additional cleaning services. All rooms and areas (e.g. corridors) are cleaned every day. Special attention is paid to hand contact surfaces such as tables, chairs, door handles, light switches, taps, buttons, soap dispensers, handrails, keyboards, PCs, etc.
In cooperation between the Fire Department, the School Board and the Municipal Building Management, the schools are provided with around 1,500 bottles of disinfectant. In addition, 100 disinfectant dispenser columns have been ordered in a first batch to start school operations.
Bringing together volunteers and people in need
Especially elderly, single people and those with pre-existing conditions need special support during the corona crisis. Bonn’s Volunteer Agency and other institutions of the Office for Social Affairs and Housing have pooled together to coordinate the help provided.
In the Volunteer Agency alone, more than 500 volunteers have registered for a special Corona Neighborhood Aid initiative. This is to allow elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions to stay at home or to stay in touch and maintain social contacts.
Providing digital support to local businesses
To ensure that the retail trade in Bonn is maintained after the Corona crisis, Bonn’s eGovernment Department and the Economic Development Agency are supporting a voluntary digital open source project that is free of charge for all companies: The new online platform at lokalwirken.de offers local restaurants, retailers and service providers the opportunity to provide the public with information on opening hours, special offers, delivery and pick-up services in a timely manner.
Expanding online services for formalities and official matters
In order to further minimize contact between the city administration and citizens in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is continuously expanding its online services. Where there are legal requirements for handwritten signatures, the new online forms can be used with the eID function of the ID card. The eID function replaces the manual signature with electronic authentication.
Helping families through the remission of fees
In connection with the Corona crisis, the Department for School, Social Affairs and Youth has set up a hotline for questions about kindergarten, day care and school. A reliable range of childcare services for children of parents in occupations that are particularly important for the provision of services of general interest, especially in the health sector, is being ensured. Parents whose children cannot be looked after are reimbursed.
Waiving fees for outdoor gastronomy
Special user fees for outdoor gastronomy have been waived in 2020, and retailers will not have to pay any fees for presenting their goods in front of the stores this year. With this decision, the city is waiving revenues of more than 600,000 euros.
In addition, local businesses will be allowed to use more space for their outdoor gastronomy. This means that they can offer the same number of seats as before the corona crisis, despite the hygiene requirements and large spacing regulations of the state's Corona Protection Ordinance. The only prerequisite is that the expansion of the areas for outdoor catering must not lead to traffic obstructions.
Raising funds for Bonn’s cultural institutions
Due to the situation caused by the pandemic, many cultural institutions are in acute distress, which can threaten their very existence. For this reason, the City of Bonn has established a solidarity fund for Bonn’s cultural scene in addition to the regular project funding and institutional support that have already been secured. This additional solidarity fund has a volume of 219,000 euros that can be applied for online.
Bonn’s Public Health Department receives best rating Germany-wide
The Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI) has examined more than 1,000 evaluations of health authorities in the 20 largest cities in Germany. Our public health department received the best ratings from citizens nationwide on Google and took first place.
The online assessments of the individual authorities were summarized by students for the analysis per city. The citizens of Bonn are most satisfied with the performance of their public health authorities and rate them on average with 4.2 out of five possible stars on Google.
In particular, the supervision of tests and quarantine cases during the Covid-19 pandemic was highlighted positively by the evaluators.
Mayor Ashok Sridharan congratulates the municipal Health Department on this success: "It is almost unimaginable what commitment has been made, often beyond personal limits. I am particularly pleased that this is now also being recognized from outside by the ranking".