After a short period of rest and relaxation over the long Easter weekend, Berliners now face at least 18 days of stricter coronavirus rules, including an effective ban on home visits after 9 p.m., as the Senate struggles to address a stubborn rise in Covid-19 infections.
The new rules, which were agreed to by the Senate on April 1 before the Easter holidays, impose stricter controls on meetings with members of other households but fall short of asking people to stay home.
What are the new rules?
From Tuesday 6th to at least April 24th, up to five people from two households will be able to gather outside during the day. If you meet indoors, only one person from another household is allowed, and only until 9pm at night.
Although the Senate is asking people to “reduce contact to a minimum,” the measures imposed do not amount to a total blockade. However, Berliners are encouraged to go out only for specific reasonssuch as exercising, grocery shopping, going to doctor’s appointments, or taking care of your allowance.
With sunnier weather on the horizon, officials warned of an increased police presence on the hottest days to ensure that people continue to drift away socially, particularly in parks and other green spaces.
Will there still be a curfew at night?
In a way, yes. While you will still be allowed to leave after 9pm, you will only be able to leave the house alone or with another person from the same household. Similarly, visiting a friend’s house is no longer allowed between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM.
However, since couples are counted as one household, couples will still be able to visit each other in the evenings.
What about shops, hairdressers and cultural spaces?
This is where things get a bit tricky. If you want to visit a museum, gallery, nonessential shop (such as a clothing store), or a hair salon, you will now need to submit a Covid-19 test negative that was taken in the last 24 hours.
However, don’t panic just yet, you won’t have to submit a negative test to visit everyday establishments like supermarkets, bookstores, bike repair shops, take-out, stationery stores, and pharmacies.
If you need to get one of their free trials, you can find a list of testing centers at https://test-to-go.berlin/.
Why was there so much confusion?
For starters, because there has been a lot of disagreement on the best way to deal with the increasing rates of infection.
Not only the three ruling parties in the Berlin Senate – the Greens, the SPD and Die Linke (the left) – have been fighting each other over the effectiveness of a full lock, but they have also been fighting with angela merkel on whether to apply the call “emergency break“Since the 7-day coronavirus incidence rate in the region surpassed 100 infections per 100,000 people in early March.
Meanwhile, the Easter holidays created additional pressure for politicians to allow family gatherings while curbing the growing wave of infections.
This effectively meant that different rules were enforced over Easter weekend, with an immediate tightening of the rules starting the day after Easter Monday.
What are the current infection rates in Berlin?
On Easter Monday, officials reported that the number of positive cases in the capital had dropped slightly to 9,540, but warned that the number of people in intensive care beds continues to rise.
The seven-day incidence in Berlin was 114.6 on Tuesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism