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Berlin: Public Swimming Pools Admit More People, Mask Rule Changes

Starting today, more people may enter public outdoor swimming pools. The decision to increase their capacity is part of Berlin’s latest step towards normality. At some locations, masks will not have to be worn anymore.

Berlin, June 18th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — In Berlin, this will be the hottest day of the year, at least so far. It is the right moment for increasing the maximum number of people who may enter Berlin’s many public outdoor swimming pools. The ‘Berliner Bäder-Betriebe’ (BBB), the state-owned company that runs the city’s public pools, just announced a capacity increase. Because of the Corona pandemic, the number of tickets that could be purchased for each time slot the swimming pools offered was limited. It still is, but at least the number increased.

Swimming Pools and Bathing Beaches

According to BBB, talks with Berlin’s Senate Administration and the local health authorities had been “quick and unbureaucratic”. They did not say exactly how many additional tickets per time slot will be sold at their online ticket shop (website in German only). But BBB did announce even higher capacities for the summer vacations. In Berlin and in neighboring Brandenburg, the latter commence next Thursday, June 24th, 2021. Public indoor pools may now open as well.

BBB runs a total of 60 public indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Those include several bathing beaches at lakes. In addition, there are public bathing sites no tickets need to be purchased for, including two beaches at Gross Glienicker Lake. On hot days, those are crammed as well, but not limited to a certain number of people. Tegeler See, anotherr lake in Berlin, is closed due to a major issue with cyanobacteria.

Compulsory Mask Rule Eased

On Tuesday, the Berlin Senate had decided to change the Corona rules yet again. Starting today, the mandatory mask rule does not apply anymore at several outdoor locations. On the city’s streets, masks do not have to be worn anymore unless the usual distance to others, of 1.5 meters (5 feet) cannot be kept. In waiting lines and at protests, masks are still compulsory.

From now on, alcoholic beverages may be sold and served 24 hours per day. So far, there was a ban from midnight to 5:00 a.m.. The lifting of the nightly alcohol ban will certainly not help the authorities in their efforts to curb illegal parties at parks. At the same time, Berlin’s low Corona infection numbers simply do not justify the ban anymore. Funfairs may be organized again, amusement parks are reopening. The Senate is also allowing “sexual services”, meaning prostitution, which had been banned for a long time. The kinds of “services” prostitutes may offer is still restricted.

Cultural and Private Events

Up to 1,000 people may now take part in cultural events outdoors. For indoor events, the new limit is 250. Events with more than 20 people require an allocation of seats to everyone. Indoor events are open to people with negative Corona tests only. Private festivities, including weddings, birthday parties, but also funerals, are limited to 100 guests outdoors, or 50 indoors. Berlin’s kindergartens are ending their emergency mode today. This means all kids may go there again. The number of persons who may be part of outdoor sports activities is not limited anymore. Up to 250 people may take part in outdoor dance events, if they have fresh Corona tests with negative outcomes.

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