Thursday morning in bayreuther strabe: it’s quiet in the three schuh-mucke stores. Only once in a while does a customer come into the sales rooms, where red flutter bands separate the shoe racks from the stalls with clothing and accessories. Apparently word has not yet got around that shoe stores are now allowed to reopen in bavaria, despite the corona.
This news did indeed come as a surprise, even to some retailers: since thursday, shoe stores in bavaria have also been allowed to open in areas with a seven-day incidence of over 100. The company schuh mucke sued and was proven right. From now on, the same rules apply to shoe sales as to the food trade.
"Indispensable for daily supply"
In a norm control procedure, the bavarian administrative court in its decision on wednesday (az. 20 NE 21.540) determined that the shoe store as "other store indispensable for the daily supply" is to be considered in the sense of the bavarian ordinance on the protection against infectious agents and therefore does not fall within the scope of the operating ban. Shoe store mucke, which was founded in 1954 in kulmbach and is today a subsidiary of the mainhausen-based retail cooperation ANWR group eg, filed the lawsuit against the forced closure in february.
The court had to agree: is the supply of shoes indispensable? Result: if the state of france, as the issuer of the ordinance, declares bookstores and DIY stores to be indispensable, this must also apply to the supply of (suitable) shoes, even if interpreted strictly.
Because the state government has also made explicit exceptions for the benefit of "baby specialty markets and health-related retail outlets such as pharmacies, sanitary stores, drugstores, opticians and hearing aid acousticians themselves signal that he gives special weight to children’s and health-related needs, it is not clear why such weight should not also be given to shoe stores, the judges said.
As a result of this decision by the bavarian administrative court, only the protection and hygiene regulations that also apply to the food trade now apply to shoe stores. The incidence values are no longer relevant for the opening of shoe stores due to the decision of the bavarian administrative court.
Only shoes are allowed to be sold. Other clothing, bags and accessories from the assortment can not be bought yet.
For fritz terbuyken, chief merchandise officer of ANWR group eg, the court follows his company’s basic understanding that shoes are part of basic supplies. He is confident that this ruling will have a signal effect for other federal states.
Frank schuffelen, spokesman for the ANWR group, speaks of a "groundbreaking ruling and an important signal at the right time for the many shoe retailers who are being hammered by the forced closure that has lasted for more than six months".
SPORT 2000 also belongs to the group of companies. Matthias grevener, the member of the board of management responsible for this area, announced that the necessary legal action would now be taken immediately in order to be allowed to open the sports retail trade as well.
Rainer rohlich, who alongside robert leithner is the managing director of intersport leithner in kulmbach, is also hoping that this will finally happen. "We are also considering the necessary steps for legal action. But of course we are also very happy when the competition makes a push and is successful with it. It is vital for the survival of our industry that something finally happens. Since mid-december, our store has been an expensive warehouse."We feel abandoned by politics."
The implementation of a hygiene concept for safe shopping is no problem at all in an area of around 1,000 square meters. "We have fulfilled all the requirements and are ready to go. Surely it should be possible to leave one vendor alone with one customer for every 100 square meters of floor space. We need 50 to 70 customers a day to exist. For us it is already five past twelve."
Marianne sesselmann can also be said to have been greatly relieved. The shoe store of the same name was also open on thursday morning. "We were completely surprised by the news", says the senior manager in an interview with BR. Her grandson daniel had first made detailed inquiries. But then the decision was made to open immediately – even though some shelves still had remnants of winter goods that had to be quickly rearranged.
Click& collect was no substitute
Also at the eku square the event started quietly at first. She hopes that word will get around quickly that people can now shop again, says marianne sesselmann. Although the company has been offering click&purchase for some time now, it is not the only one collect offered. "But that was just a drop in the bucket", no substitute for the spring business, which can now start after all with a little delay.
Less pleased with the court’s decision, district administrator klaus peter sollner. "You don’t have to understand it, but that’s the way it is now", he commented on request. In view of the persistently high infection figures, "the signs are not promising at the moment". With incidence rates of over 300 in the district of kulmbach, he still wishes that the citizens would be sensible and refrain from unnecessary contacts.
Hope for relaxation over easter
Sollner does not see the administrative court’s decision as a "blatant miscarriage of justice". The reasoning is understandable, especially the comparability with tree markets and bookstores. "I do understand, however, if the question marks come up for small retailers", the county council admits.
He hopes that further relaxations will soon be possible. "We can think of openings if the incidence is very clearly below 200. Unfortunately, we are still relatively far away from that." Sollner hopes situation will ease over easter.
The incidence values are also only of limited significance as a sole value. "We do a lot of testing, and we also pick out a lot of positive cases. If we tested less, our numbers would be lower, but that would not be in the interest of infection control." It is still a matter of interrupting chains of infection to contain the pandemic.