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Henke has respect for the corona virus and wants to do everything right to protect his family from infection. That is why he looks after his children aged five and eleven at home and has already limited his contacts to the bare minimum. Wearing a mouth and nose cover is also no problem for the family man. He can understand many rules for containing the coronavirus.
15-year-olds excluded from family reunions due to corona rules
Others do not open up to him. “And I’m not the only one,” Henke is sure. “Some things are simply contradictory and I don’t know how to handle them.” That single parents are encouraged to organize the care of their children with the help of other family members, for example. “You should protect grandpa and grandma,” says Henke. And there is something else that troubles the blended family: Since children under the age of twelve do not count in the current contact restrictions, the father can meet his partner in Altentreptow with his own children. The fifteen-year-old boy is excluded from the family reunions until further notice. But Henke does not want to have the contact prevented. It would be difficult for the older son to understand. “He would say: Why am I not allowed to come with you?” Says Henke.
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The father of the family can imagine what is behind the rule: “You can see in the playgrounds that many young people sit together outside in the evening and drink.” But his partner’s son, he knows, is not one of them. “And actually it is as horny as it is jumping whether one person comes to visit alone or everyone comes together,” he says. If someone had the virus, the others in the household would likely get infected as well.
E-mails to the state government so far unanswered
Henke wants rules that make sense and that the government clearly defines the term “nuclear family”, especially with regard to the 15-kilometer rule. He also calls for a reduction in electricity prices during homeschooling. Henke has already contacted the state government several times with his concerns, but his emails have so far remained unanswered by his own account. “If you have the opportunity to contact the government directly, it would be nice to at least get a message that the letter has been received,” says the disappointed family man.
For the definition, the Ministry of the Interior refers to a paragraph on visiting the family in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the “Frequently asked questions” section. Accordingly, life companions also belong to the nuclear family, but the partner’s children are not mentioned. However, in a different context, from exceptions through a shared custody or access right. But could the son and his mother visit the rest of the family in Demmin?
Special regulations for families do not apply in this case
The country’s ombudsman’s office receives many such inquiries about the regulations. “It is also not so easy for those affected to understand these rules,” admits the press spokeswoman Ina Latendorf. In addition to the extensive state ordinance, the general decree of the district must also be observed, in both special regulations for families are formulated. “In this case, however, according to the regulation, there is no exception. It looks like the 15-year-old son is not allowed, ”she says.
The logic behind the age limit: It should take into account younger children who need constant supervision. However, this is not the case for a normally developed 15-year-old. “From the legislature’s point of view, there is no need for him to come along,” explains Ina Latendorf.
Jens Henke has no understanding for this. For him, his blended family is one household, even if it is spread over two houses. He believes that the corona rules will tear it apart, despite repeated assurances about the importance of the nuclear family. Whether under one roof or not, for him family is one thing above all else: “We are a family that loves each other,” says Henke. “And a family sticks together. It’s time to think about extended families too. ”