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Germany: Berlin Senate Intends to Reopen Restaurants for Pentecost Weekend

The city state of Berlin might get rid of its strict ’emergency brake’ rules next week, because its Seven Day Incidence rate just dropped down below 100 again. Restaurants could reopen in two weeks from now. In the meantime, Germany’s Interior Minister tested positive for Corona.

Berlin, May 11th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the oldest member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, is infected with Corona, according to his spokesman. On Monday, the 71-year-old politician from the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt did not have any symptoms. Almost a month ago, Seehofer had received his first Corona vaccination. It is unclear whether colleagues, staff members or other persons around him were infected too.

Eight States Below 100

In Berlin, the Seven Day Incidence has dropped below 100. If it does not rise above this critical level again, as it did on Monday, the strict ’emergency brake’ rules that apply in the German capital, including the nightly curfews, could be lifted next week. Had the numbers been below 100 constantly, this could have happened this Friday. Because they did not, the stricter set of rules will definitely remain in place until mid next week. The Incidence in a city or county has to drop down below 100 and stay there for five consecutive business days before the ’emergency brake’ rules can be dumped.

The nationwide Seven Day Incidence is deceasing as well. It just reached 115.4. Rhineland-Palatinate and the entire north of Germany, eight out of sixteen federal states, are now below 100. They also include Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania, Brandenburg and Berlin. Thuringia and Saxony are still at very high levels. According to the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin they stand at 175.1 and 167.6, respectively.

Closed Since November 2nd

On Tuesday, the Berlin Senate was going to discuss the way forward in the Corona crisis, including the question what should happen once the stricter rules are being lifted. For the Christian Pentecost holiday on May 23rd and 24th, restaurants and pubs might be allowed to open their outdoor tables, according to Governing Mayor Michael Müller. Since November 2nd of last year, restaurants have been allowed to sell takeout food only. But their tables have been closed all this time. The same applies to cafés and pubs.

All relevant Corona numbers for Germany, and daily Corona updates, can be found in our Corona chronology.

Müller, a Social Democrat who has been among the more careful heads of governments throughout the Corona crisis, with one or two exceptions, now wants to reopen the German capital’s restaurants. His coalition partners seem to agree. But his own Health Senator Dilek Kalayci, a party colleague, is more cautious. A breakthrough would only be reached once the Incidence was below 50, and once half the population had been vaccinated, she said in front of the Berlin House of Representative’s health committee on Monday.

Controllable at Low Levels

Early on in the crisis, 50 was established as the Incidence level at which local health authorities can still manage to trace back all infection cases to their sources. According to Senator Kalayci, the level should be even lower, at 20 or 30. In that kind of situation, the pandemic was controllable.

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