German police bust poker game amid coronavirus lockdown

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Via Deutsche Welle

Dortmund police busted a group of 15 people playing a poker game in a city restaurant late on Wednesday evening, said police in a statement on Thursday.

Players had met at the venue in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) despite coronavirus restrictions limiting public gatherings of more than two people. Nationwide measures introduced in mid-March meant all restaurants, bars and cafes have been ordered to temporarily shut except for delivery or takeaway.

When police arrived at the venue Wednesday night, they found the croupier sitting at two poker tables, along with playing cards and poker chips. The guests had also been clearly serving themselves from the bar, said the police statement.

Police issued fines totaling €4,000 ($4,300) for breaking coronavirus restrictions. The bar owner is also subject to further separate investigations, the police report said. In NRW, police issue fines of €200 ($216) for gatherings of more than two people, according to the state website.

Germans largely complying with coronavirus measures

Despite the raid, people have largely complied with the new rules, police in Dortmund said. Authorities added, however, that they will continue to punish violations against the measures.

The bust came weeks after police in Berlin broke up a birthday party for a 16-year-old girl with 31 guests.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced tight coronavirus social distancing measures on March 22 to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, but following a call with state leaders on Wednesday, some of the restrictions on small businesses will loosen next week. Bars, restaurants, daycare centers, theaters, and cinemas will have to stay closed until further notice.

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