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Berlin: Most Passengers in Public Transport Use Masks

In Berlin, most public transport passengers seemed to be using masks on the day they became mandatory. In all other parts of Germany, protective masks are obligatory in shops too. The Berlin Senate decided otherwise.

At ‘Hermannplatz’ station, a majority of people who left and entered ‘U-Bahn’ trains on Monday wore masks. The few who did not may not have known about the new rules. According to those, covering nose and mouth with a scarf is fine too.

Availability Secured

At the very beginning of the Corona crisis, hardly any masks were available in Berlin or the rest of Germany. This situation has changed by now. Some pharmacies in the German capital are offering simple protection masks that may not help those who wear them, but everyone else. Others do have more fancy masks with filters as well.

At Turmstrasse station, masks made of cloth can even be purchased at a vending machine. Prices start at 5.50 Euro (5.94 Dollars or 4.81 Pounds) and end at six times that amount. More and more Berliners wear large black masks that look rather scary, but stable. The city state of Berlin was going to give away 90,000 masks to residents for free.

Berlin Opposition Wants Fines

The Berlin Senate decided not to impose fines on anyone in connection with masks, meaning people who refrain from wearing them, even though this kind of behavior is now considered dangerous in public transport, will not have to pay a dime, at least for now.

At the Berlin House of Representatives, the conservative CDU does not agree with this approach. Floor leader Burkard Dregger said there needed to be fines. Those had to be part of a “persistent implementation” of the new rule.

More than 5,600 Infected Persons

In other federal states, there are fines of up to 5,000 Euro (5,404 Dollars or 4,372 Pounds). This kind of hefty fine can be imposed on business owners in Bavaria who let customers enter their premises without masks. The last federal state to make masks mandatory in both public transport and shops will be Schleswig-Holstein, on Wednesday. Starting at that moment, masks in stores will be required in all of Germany, except Berlin.

Many U-Bahn passengers at ‘Hermannplatz’ wore masks on Monday. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Berlin now has more than 5,600 Coronavirus cases, but more than 4,500 individuals who used to be infected with Corona are healed. In the German capital, 125 residents have died of the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

A makeshift hospital for Corona patients is being established at Berlin’s fairgrounds. It is supposed to be used in case of emergency only, in case the city’s other clinics are overburdened at some point. The number of beds this provisional Corona clinic is supposed to have is 500.

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