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Germany: Corona Infection Numbers Slump, Restaurants to Reopen in Berlin

All over Germany, the infection numbers are now decreasing rapidly. The end of the third Coronavirus wave will now lead to a reopening of restaurants and a cautious revival of culture in Berlin and elsewhere.

Berlin, May 12th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — November 1st of last year was the last day on which Berliners and people elsewhere in Germany had the opportunity to sit down at restaurant tables in order to enjoy a juicy steak, a vegan meal or anything they desired, along with a few drinks. This was six and a half months ago. Now, people are about to return to restaurants. It will happen as soon as next week.

Theater and Cinema

Now that Berlin’s Seven Day Incidence dropped down to 67.3, nothing will stop the German capital from opening up cautiously. Just like all other federal states, the city state of Berlin has to adhere to the Infection Protection Act. This means it will get rid of the strict ’emergency brake’ rules on Wednesday, five consecutive business days after the Incidence dropped below 100. Wednesday is also the day on which some cultural events can take place again.

The Senate decided to allow outdoor events with up to 250 people, which means outdoor cinemas are back in business and outdoor theater performances are legal again. Opera singers may stand on stages again, as long as they are outdoors and all other rules are being followed. Authors may organize reading events, bands may perform in front of audiences again.

‘Hygiene Concepts’ Required

For these kinds of events, the usual rules apply, including a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) between people, masks and negative Corona tests are required as well. Of course, vaccinated persons, or former Corona patients who tested positive between 28 days and six months ago, may go as well, without Corona tests. Some of Berlin’s theaters are already organizing outdoor performances, outdoor cinemas are busy preparing for screenings. Cultural life will be back, at least to some extent, as soon as next week.

This shot was taken on November 1st, 2020, at Bergmannstrasse in Berlin’s Kreuzberg borough. It was the last time restaurants were allowed to welcome guests. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

From Friday, May 21st, 2021, more Corona rules will be eased: The Berlin Senate decided to reopen restaurants and public swimming pools then. Restaurants and cafés — their outdoor parts — will probably be crowded, which is why they were given more room on sidewalks. There are conditions though. “Hygiene concepts” are needed. Again, all guests need negative Corona tests or documents which prove they were vaccinated, or cured from COVID-19 in the past 6 months.

Sightseeing and Sports

There is a problem though: When those restaurants and cafés finally reopen after half a year, the weather will supposedly suck bigtime. For the Pentecost weekend, rain, rain and more rain was forecast. This aspect will not exactly help outdoor cinemas either, unless they screen ‘The Perfect Storm’ in 4D. Outdoor theater performances and those opera singers might want to wear rain coats and rubber boots.

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

From Wednesday, Berlin is also allowing sightseeing rides on the city’s streets and waterways again. Up to ten persons may gather outdoors for sports activities, if they have negative Corona tests or if they were vaccinated at least 14 days ago. Of course, those nightly curfews will not apply anymore from May 19th. Generally, up to five people from up to two households will be allowed to gather. The easing of any rules will happen if Berlin’s Incidence does not reach 100 again, but this seems unlikely right now.

Huge Improvement

In all of Germany, the infection numbers have decreased substantially. Now, thirteen out of sixteen federal states have managed to get their Incidences to levels below 100. The only states that are still above that critical level are Thuringia (132.1), Saxony (122.6) and Baden-Württemberg (107.1). There has been a huge improvement since yesterday. Germany’s national Incidence stands at 87.3. Many federal states are preparing their return to a new normality, in cautious steps.

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