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Berlin: Will the Mask Return to Supermarkets and Public Buildings?

Because of the deteriorating Corona situation, Berlin’s Health Senator Ulrike Gote wants the city state to put in place a three-stage-plan that includes compulsory mask rules. Next week, it is supposed to be discussed and approved.

Berlin, October 12th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Health Senator Ulrike Gote is worried about Corona. Berlin’s authorities register more than 4,000 new infections per day and the city’s Seven Day Incidence increased to 467.4 on Wednesday. On October 1st, less than two weeks ago, the level had been 288. The aspect Senator Gote is concerned about most is the hospital situation.

Next Gear

Right now, 902 Corona patients are being treated at hospitals in Berlin. At this moment, 64 of them are in intensive care, out of which 37 are connected to respirators. Because of the danger Corona still poses to everyone, whether we want to hear about it or not, and due to the fact that doctors, nurses and other hospital staffers get infected too, something has to be done to curb the ongoing Corona wave.

Ulrike Gote has a concept she wants the Senate to approve as soon as next week. It is a three-stage plan:

  • The first level is the one we are at right now. Masks are mandatory in public transport, doctor’s offices, clinics and care homes. Corona tests are required in order to get access to hospitals, youth centers, care homes or jails. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 need to isolate themselves at home for at least five days. Once they are symptom-free for 48 hours, they may end their quarantine.
  • According to the concept, the second level would kick in if and when the infection numbers increase and reach a certain level. In this case, the compulsory mask rule would be extended to public buildings of certain kinds.
  • Finally, the third level would mean switching to the next gear in regard to masks, meaning they would be required in more kinds of public buildings.

Additional Measures

Those buildings mentioned will likely include supermarkets and other retail businesses, restaurants, pubs, cafés, office buildings, museums and other cultural venues, some of which already put in place mask rules themselves. If the Corona situation escalates substantially, it would be up to the Berlin House of Representatives to declare Berlin a COVID-19 hotspot. This step would give the city state the option to put in place even more anti-Corona measures.

At this stage, many Berliners do not seem to care, in spite of the increasing infection numbers. In public transport, far too many passengers ignore the mandatory mask rule. In shops, people could wear their masks voluntarily to decrease the risk for everyone around them and themselves. But most people do not.

Tests at Schools

At this point, masks do not have to be worn at Berlin’s hundreds of schools. But this might change as well. In a more serious situation, the health authorities can force teachers and students to wear masks. This does not apply to schoolkids in grades 1 to 4 though. There already are mandatory Corona test for schoolchildren. The frequency is up to the Senate Administration of Education.

Looking for the daily Corona update for Germany? Find it here.
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2022
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2021
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2020

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