The Higher Administrative Court has overturned the different opening rules for retailers during the Corona pandemic within the small state of Saarland in western Germany. According to the ruling, the same regulations will apply to all types of retail in the state. Since March 6, most retailers in Saarland have been allowed to receive one person plus one other person from the same household per 40 square meters in stores, but only with appointments. A more generous customer/space rule applied to bookstores and florists. In its decision, the court referred to the applicable principle of equality. Also, the privileged stores were not always essential to ensure the daily supply of the population. Applying a stricter rule to other stores was therefore not justified.
Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, the federal system in Germany has led to different regulations in the individual states, affecting kindergartens and schools as well as retail stores. Regulations on the opening of retail outlets are based on regional infection levels, leading to Corona tourism to places with open retail outlets.
The German retail trade association HDE states that about half of its members face bankruptcy in 2021 without further federal support. Regional “click & meet” and ”shopping on appointment” offers, which are implemented in German regions with lower infection rates, are seen by many retailers as a loss-making business. The HDE trade association advocates adapting purchasing regulations to the risk of infection rather than to infection rates.
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