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New corona rules in Berlin: Contact restrictions lifted — fines for not using masks

The Berlin Senate has announced how the latest recommendations from the federal government regarding corona measures are to be implemented in the city. According to a report by the Deutschen Presse-Agentur, the ruling committee decided on Tuesday that there should no longer be a cap on the number of people who can socialise together. However, distancing rules continue to apply. And there will be fines for mask refusers.

Corona-Beschlüsse: Ohne Maske kann es in den öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln teuer werden. Dafür dürfen sich priuvat wieder so viele Menschen treffen, wie Platz ist. Foto: Zeitz
Corona rules: going without a mask on public transport will be expensive, while there’s no longer a limit on the number of people who can gather privately. Photo: Zeitz

This had already been announced last week. At the same time as making concessions to the public, the Senate has apparently had enough of the fact that many people, in view of increasing relaxations, believe that suddenly everything is permitted again. Accordingly, mask avoiders and those who ignore the remaining regulations may be asked to pay in future — at least on public transport. According to the report, anyone caught on buses and trains without a mask will have to pay 50 euros.

Corona rules: Private groups now unrestricted – but with distancing

Now all restrictions for private gatherings are also overturned. Meaning: as many people who want to gather, can. As long as distancing measures are adhered to. Of course, it’s difficult for the police to know whether the 10 people in an apartment just enjoyed an enthusiastic orgy or were actually sitting separately with the required distances. It’s probably also more about preventing huge parties. Because it’s clear, for example, that 70 party guests in a 50-square-metre space will not work.

Birthday party in the park? Under the latest regulations, you can have as many guests as you want. However, only members of the same household are still allowed to come close. Photo: imago / Bildgehege

In fact, demonstrations are already possible without any restrictions, providing hygiene and distancing regulations are observed. For planned protests such as the Pride Parade 2020, organisers are developing comprehensive concepts on how this can be guaranteed.

More customers allowed in shops again

Good for businesses: shops can allow more customers in at any one time. For example, where there was previously a limit of one customer per 20 square meters, there can now be one customer per 10 sqm. Twice as many people can enter, in effect.

Relaxations are also to be expected in the gastronomy sector and in some sports facilities. Across Berlin’s bars and restaurants there have been frequent violations in the past few days — to the annoyance of those who adhere faithfully to the hygiene rules. After all, those who serve crowds at the bar will earn more than those who do everything right.

The clubs stay shut – and saunas, too

Sadly for all ravers: Berghain stays closed. And all other clubs, too. Prostitution is still taboo — to the frustration of sex workers who remain unable to earn. Lecture halls should also remain closed, and even the sauna is not allowed — this includes classic establishments as well as the city’s more frivolously-oriented facilities. Recently, too, hundreds of people have begun gathering in parks like Hasenheide to rave — and the police want to stop this.

The latest rules are to remain for a while, between four and six months. Which is tough for the corona losers like clubs — there will be no further relaxation in the meantime. Although many club owners have gotten creative, opening restaurants or promoting their beer gardens instead. The availability of the new ‘Corona-Warn-App’ doesn’t affect the restrictions concerning parties, either.

Infection control, not containment

Also new is that the containment regulations will now be called the ‘Verordnung zum Infektionsschutz’ (‘regulations on protection against infection’) and will only list what is prohibited rather than what is permitted. Which makes sense in view of the past few weeks. Because following what’s banned is now easier than following what’s allowed.

Original text Sebastian Scherer

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