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Berlin: Reopening of Restaurants and Museums Brings Back some Normality

In Berlin, restaurants and similar businesses may reopen their outdoor tables today, for the first time in seven months. Whether this is a temporary step or a permanent one remains to be seen.

Berlin, May 21st, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Before Corona, Berlin had approximately 9,800 restaurants, pubs, bars cafés and clubs which offered beverages. Some of them may be bankrupt by now, clubs are still not allowed to open, but restaurants, cafés and pubs are. Since today’s reopening step is limited to outdoor tables, it is unclear whether these businesses will make enough money to make ends meet.

Complicated Regulations

For all of those businesses, the work load will be higher than it used to be, because of all the complicated Corona regulations they will have to adhere to. For instance, they may only welcome guests who tested negative for Corona up to 24 hours ago, who were vaccinated at least 14 days ago, or who were cured from Corona between 28 days and 6 months ago. It is rather complicated to check all of those documents. Rapid Corona tests done on site, at the restaurant, are accepted as long as someone commissioned by the business witnesses the test and checks the result.

Of course there are more rules restaurant owners have to enforce. Otherwise they might get into trouble. Up to five people from up to two households may sit at a table. They may be joined by an unlimited number of children up to 14 years of age, vaccinated individuals and former Corona patients. Checking whether all guests actually follow this rule is difficult or even impossible. Also there is an aspect business owners cannot control at all, namely the weather. So far, this spring has been wet and windy. As long as this does not improve, those outdoor tables might not be filled, in spite of the long lockdown.

No Alcohol After 11:00 p.m.

Still, many Berliners are looking forward to sit down outside, for a good drink or a delicious meal with their families, life partners, colleagues or friends, in spite of the fact that getting a table might be rather complicated, and even though they have to put on their masks the minute they get up from the table, in order to go to the restroom. The staff has to wear masks all the time. At least there is no curfew, but alcohol may not be sold or served between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m..

Eleven public swimming pools and official bathing lakes in Berlin will be opening today as well. People will have to purchase their tickets for specific time slots online and many restrictions and rules apply. For instance, visitors will have to swim in circles and get out of the water half an hour before their time slot ends. Slides and diving towers will remain closed. More public pools are supposed to open in mid-June. But children up to 12 years of age enter free of charge.

Museums and Sightseeing Tours

Berlin’s state-owned museums are reopening too. Like at swimming pools, visitors need to book a time slot and show a fresh, negative Corona test result. Of course, vaccinated and cured persons may enter those museums and galleries as well. Masks that comply with the FFP2 standard are mandatory. Sightseeing tours in boats and buses are allowed again as well, just in case tourists finally show up again. Before Corona, Berlin counted more than 13 million tourists per year. That number suddenly slumped down to zero when Corona hit in early 2020. Some visitors were registered in the late spring and in summer of last year. For now, hotels in Berlin may not welcome tourists, but this will likely change soon.

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

In neighboring Brandenburg, restaurants are reopening their outdoor tables today as well. Tourists may spend nights at the federal state’s hotels and camping grounds again. This applies in counties with Seven Day Incidences below 100.

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