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Berlin Announces Even More Reopening Steps

There is a partial return to normality in the German capital. For the first time since last year, the city state of Berlin is easing Corona restrictions today. More steps of this kind are supposed to follow soon.

Berlin, May 19th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — In the past seven months, Berlin has changed its Corona rules countless times. Today, the city state with 3.8 million inhabitants is doing so again. But there is a difference: In the past eight months, the restrictions were tightened and more rules were added. Now, Berlin is going the opposite way, meaning restrictions are being eased and some rules dumped. The decreasing number of new infections makes this approach possible.

First Round of Changes

Today, quite a few Corona rules are changing in Berlin:

  • Since midnight, the nightly curfews do not apply anymore. People are now allowed to leave their homes whenever they want to.
  • Members of one household may now be with up to one person from another household at night as well.
  • Cultural events are allowed to take place outdoors, with up to 250 people, under conditions. Reserved seats are mandatory. So are distancing and masks, unless all participants are fully vaccinated.
  • Public outdoor swimming pools and bathing beaches may open. Eleven public pools will reopen on Friday.
  • Groups of up to 10 people may engage in outdoor sports activities again. In the case of kids of up to 14 years of age, up to 20 persons may be part of it.
  • People may now visit booth zoos in Berlin without Corona tests. This is limited to the outdoor parts.
  • Museums, exhibitions and memorial sites may reopen today. Visitors need a negative Corona test or a vaccination, and they need to adhere to the usual Corona rules. Most state-owned museums in Berlin will open on Friday.
  • Touristic boat trips and sightseeing tours in buses may resume today as well. Negative Corona tests are required for those who have not been vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the tour, or cured from Corona at least 28 days before they participate.
  • Non-essential retail businesses may welcome customers without appointments. But they do need negative Corona tests if they have not been vaccinated completely. Depending on their size, shops need to allocate a certain amount of space to each customer.

Back in Business

Since November 2nd, 2020, Berlin’s restaurants have been allowed to offer takeout food only. This will finally change on Friday, May 21st, 2021. Restaurants and cafés may welcome guests at outdoor tables. Negative Corona tests or vaccinations are required. People who were cured from COVID-19 between 28 days and six months ago may go as well.

On Tuesday, some confusion spread in Berlin because not all Senate members who made statements in front of cameras seemed to know exactly what decisions had been taken. For that reason, conflicting information was published by German media. Some reopening steps that were supposed to be taken on June 4th were postponed by two weeks, including the reopening of Berlin’s hotels.

Eased Contact Restrictions

According to the official press release sent out by Berlin’s Senate Chancellery, the following changes will apply from June 4th, 2021, if the Seven Day Incidence does not rise again.

  • The contact restrictions will be eased. Indoors, up to five persons from up to two households will be allowed to gather. Vaccinated individuals and children up to 14 years of age do not count. Outdoors, up to 10 people from three households will have the right to be together. Again, vaccinated persons and kids up to 14 years of age do not count.
  • Outdoor events with up to 500 people will be legal, but strict rules apply.
  • Indoor events with up to 100 participants will be allowed as well, under certain conditions.
  • The indoor parts of both zoos may welcome tested and vaccinated visitors.
  • Outdoor leisure facilities may reopen.
  • Any outdoor sports activities will be allowed as long as the participants have been tested (negative result required, as always), vaccinated or cured.
  • Fitness or sports studios may reopen and welcome a limited number of tested, vaccinated or cured persons.
  • Universities may organize events for small groups and open libraries and other rooms if they have a convincing hygiene concept.

Indoor Tables and Prostitution

Yet another reopening round is scheduled for June 18th, 2021. From that date, up to 10 people from up to three households may meet indoors. Children up to 14 years of age and vaccinated persons do not count. Outdoors, an unlimited number of people from up to three households will be able to gather. Outdoor events with up to 1,000 people will be allowed. Strict rules will apply, of course. Up to 200 people will be allowed to take part in indoor events.

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

On June 18th, restaurants and cafés may open their indoor tables as well, if the infection numbers remain stable or drop further. Hotels and similar establishments can welcome tourists again from June 18th, but restrictions apply. They may only use up to 50 percent of their capacity. Retail businesses may welcome everyone, without Corona tests. Even “sexual services without sexual intercourse” will be legal again from June 18th, according to the Senate Chancellery.

A few days before any of these reopening steps are supposed to be taken, the Berlin Senate will convene to reconfirm them.

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