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  • Daily Berlin news update: Friday, July 24


Daily Berlin news update: Friday, July 24

Airport Corona tests to start next week, Tesla to expand Berlin operations, Mitte restaurant hit by Covid-19, and motorists to face cheaper fines. Plus: erotic massage and BDSM services get green light.

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Airport Covid-19 tests from next week, Tesla to build batteries in Berlin, 13 infections in Mitte restaurant

Testing for passengers arriving from Covid-19 risk regions is to start next week, mayor Michael Müller announced yesterday. Speaking to Spreeradio, Müller said that introduction of the testing, which is currently being debated at state and federal level, will be fast tracked at Berlin’s airports: “We have been in talks with the airport operator since last week and are currently coordinating where and when we will install test stations at Tegel and Schoenefeld,” he said.  

Good news for local jobs: the Tesla factory in Grünheide is set to be bigger than already planned to allow the American car firm to manufacture batteries on the site. Founder Elon Musk confirmed the plans for the extension to the 300 hectare site in the firm’s quarterly online conference today. The news follows the announcement by the firm that it will develop an inner-city design and engineering facility at the EUREF research campus by the Schöneberg Gasometer.  

The city’s health departments are frantically tracing contacts after at least 13 people who visited a restaurant on Alexanderplatz were infected with coronavirus. The infection is thought to have spread on July 10 after three people from Münster with the virus spent the evening at the Mio restaurant. The Gesundheitsamt in Mitte believes that guests at the restaurant were dancing and partying, in contravention of distancing rules.

Truck drivers protest against low-cost competition, road fines reduced after legal challenge

Truck drivers took part in a demonstration against falling wages today with a procession that stretched from the Avus motorway service area to the Brandenburg Gate. Around 100 vehicles were expected to take part in the protest, which was organised by drivers angry at having their wages undercut due to subcontracting to lower-wage drivers in Eastern Europe. Many haulage companies in Germany struggle to compete against this low cost competition, threatening drivers’ jobs.

Fines for motoring offences including speeding, parking on bike lanes and street racing are to be substantially cut after the new catalogue of traffic fines was struck down by the courts. Numerous penalties will now revert to the old amount because the Federal Ministry of Transport contravened Germany’s road traffic law when it introduced its new register of fines in April.  Penalties for parking on pavements and cycle paths will revert from €55 to €20, while drivers parking in bus lanes will one again face a nominal €10 fine. 

Erotic massage and BDSM get go ahead, Deutsche Wohnen nationalisation a step closer

Erotic massage and BDSM services in Berlin have been given the green light to open following a successful legal challenge. Offering sexual services with physical contact has been prohibited since the Coronavirus outbreak but faced a legal challenge by the owners of a BDSM “studio”. A Berlin tribunal court accepted the owners’ argument that since the person-to-person contact was limited to hands, such venues could be treated differently from brothels, which will remain closed.

A city-wide referendum on whether to take Deutsche Wohnen’s properties into public ownership is set to take place next year, after the Senat and campaign group Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen came to an agreement on Wednesday. Announcing the news, a spokesperson for the group said that the vote would pave the way for the de-facto nationalisation of the property company, which owns 100,000 flats in Berlin and has come under sustained criticism in recent years for its treatment of tenants. “Next year, Berliners will have the chance to vote on whether large profit-orientated real estate companies can be nationalised under Article 15 of the German Constitution,” Rouzbeh Taheri was quoted as saying by the Tagesspiegel. Any referendum on Deutsche Wohnen’s future would not be legally binding, however.

24.07.2020 - 19:19 Uhr