Will retail stores survive

Schwabach is fighting the consequences of the corona pandemic - retail is fighting for survival

The postponed decision about the Corona model regions in Bavaria does not trigger any additional despair in the gold beater city. "The numbers are as they are and you have to react," says Bruno Fetzer, chairman of the advertising and city community. Mayor Peter Reiss sees it similarly. "It is understandable that the decision was postponed in view of rising incidence values," said the mayor.

For Fetzer, all further considerations are currently speculation, although he has great worries. "The retail trade is struggling to survive and will soon need a perspective," said the long-term head of the association, who is currently also district manager for the inner city. “That's why I hope that the values ​​will drop soon so that a certain normalcy can take hold.” Retailers in Schwabach have already done a lot to be prepared for an opening. "Hygiene concepts are in place and the small-scale nature of the retail trade in Schwabach is an advantage," says Fetzer. For large stores like the Müller drugstore and the clothing chain H&M, however, it won't be that easy.

Lord Mayor Peter Reiss also wants the city council to deal with the issue again if the framework conditions for the status as a model city should change. So far, the vast majority in the city council has supported the mayor's path.

Because Reiss is also counting on an early improvement in the situation. "Even if the model project has now been postponed, it is important to show retailers, restaurants and parents alike perspectives on how the way out of the pandemic can look," says the SPD politician. To this end, he wants to refine and expand the vaccination strategy in order to create the conditions "under which retail, gastronomy and culture can reopen as soon as possible".

At the moment, however, the figures from the Robert Koch Institute for Schwabach do not yet provide that. The seven-day incidence on Sunday was 119.6. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Schwabach's citizens have fallen ill in 1837. However, only seven recently. The number of deaths is 100. There have been no new deaths in the last seven days.

Trade association chairman Wolfgang Janowiak also regrets the postponement. "The designation as a model city would have been positive because it would have enabled activity," said the former city architect. Janowiak, however, warns against "opening at any price" when it comes to the subject of the model city. Rather, it is very important to develop innovative and sustainable concepts for the further course of the openings. "Because the pandemic will be with us for some time," he believes.

In his opinion, "developing and trying out strategies" is therefore an important point for which one should use the time as a model city. "As an association, we want to do everything here to open up even the smallest opportunities for our members", Janowiak describes the attitude of the trade association. "Because shops and restaurants in Schwabach are suffering bitterly," the association boss knows. That is why Janowiak is also looking specifically at the time after the end of the pandemic and sees the city as obliged to help its traders get back on their feet. "The trade association expects the mayor and city council to act strongly and supportively so that the consequences are absorbed as far as possible," says Janowiak. "We need targeted investments in the future, also financed through loans."

Schwabach's restaurateur, Josef Raab, has always regarded small openings as difficult for Schwabach, even as part of a model project. "I think half measures are counterproductive and advocate a strict lockdown for a short period of time, only to get started again," says the operator of one of the most renowned restaurants and hotels in Schwabach. After all, the economic losses are "very serious and affect the substance of the companies". Raab already sees the city's decisions as sensible and expedient. "On your part, they are very understanding of the situation in our industry and try to find a solution," says Raab. At the same time, he has a certain understanding of the battered local politics. "Due to the permanent change in the situation, it is almost impossible to plan a concept," says Raab. HK