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  • Daily Berlin Corona update: Tuesday, May 26

Berlin

Daily Berlin Corona update: Tuesday, May 26

Federal government extends contact restrictions through June 29, Berlin will take 20 years to repay Corona debt and grocery prices have gone up. Also: Chinese tourism and news from the EXB team.

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Tuesday, May 26

As of Tuesday night, the officially confirmed number of Corona infections in Berlin lies at 6672.

  • There are currently 6672 confirmed cases in Berlin.
  • So far, 6123 people have been declared recovered from Covid-19, meaning the number of active infections in the city lies at 549.
  • Of those infected, 3284 are male, 3384 are female. Four did not specify their gender.
  • 164 people are currently in hospital as a result of the virus, 58 are in intensive care.
  • The total number of casualties lies at 193, 14 of them were under 60 years of age. The average age of the deceased was 81.

No news for theatres and gyms, daily Ampel updates and a mountain of debt

Breaking: The federal government and German states have decided to extend the current contact restrictions until June 29. However, from June 6, up to 10 individuals from no more than two households may meet up in public. Further steps will be decided by the individual states, with a lone Thuringia going its own way from June 6, by straying from the contact restriction line and only implementing local restrictions where they see fit.

Hopes were high when the Berlin and Brandenburg governments got together this morning to discuss the possibility of opening bars, Kinos and fitness studios. But while our neighbours are giving cinemas and stages the green light from June 6 and gyms from this Thursday, May 28, the Senat has not decided on any date to reopen them. Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz (SPD) said the discussion would be continued on Thursday along with a new hygiene concept for gastronomy.

While the Senat was in session, Health Senator Dilek Kalayci offered to publish daily instead of weekly updates of the city’s Corona ‘Ampel’ index. Yesterday’s ‘red light’ caused by a the local R value of 1.37 had caused discussions, but Kollatz reassured the public by pointing to the low rate of new infections – currently at 4.7 per 100,000 Berliners – and the high remaining capacity of available emergency hospital beds – only 4.7 percent were in use as per yesterday’s report.

And Kollatz, man of the day, had more to share:The city will take out loans for an additional €5 billion budget. A third supplementary budget worth €500 million to €1 billion is also on the way. All additional funds will be spent for “Corona-specific measures” and bridge the massive loss of tax money. Kollatz announced the government’s plan to pay this new debt back within 20 years. Wow… not sure we want to know the interest rate for these loans.

Financial aid, cancellation fees, grocery prices and distancing fines scrapped

‘Corona-specific measures’ will include a €300 million financial aid package for public transport providers BVG, S-Bahn and regional train services. Who gets what isn’t clear, but the Senat clearly wants to keep their services running smoothly. Another Corona-aid beneficiary is an unnamed sports club. A week after the government promised €8 million help for non-profit as well as professional clubs, a spokesperson for the Landessportbund Berlin said the first application had been accepted today.

High school graduates might need their parents to bail them out now that graduation parties had to be called off. Many party-planning agencies are charging cancellation fees between €500 and €6000. The Berlin student union reports 42 such cases. The Education Senator’s office say they’re not responsible, Neukölln and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf are at least offering the kids legal support. The student union has another idea. They’re asking the Senat to prohibit Abi parties – and thus force the agencies to either reimburse or reschedule.

Have you noticed grocery prices going up? According to the DPA, last month Berliners had to spend 4.3 percent more on their regular food shop than they did in April 2019, with meat prices going up by a whopping 9 percent. Cosmetic and body care products were 2.5 percent more expensive than last year. Still, nothing compared to Brandenburg where, all due to Corona, the humble cauliflower saw an extortionate 74 percent value increase!

If some of the official anti-Corona regulations always seemed a bit unclear to you, the Berlin constitutional court agrees – and has ruled Berliners can no longer be fined for failing to socially distance. The court specifically singled out vague phrases telling people to reduce their “physical social contacts” to “an absolute minimum” – “so long as circumstances permit”. Sorry, what? The Senat has agreed to correct its language on Thursday, but otherwise keep regulations as they are.

Eager tourists, Prinzenbad splash and news from EXB

As of yesterday, hotels are allowed to open and Burkhard Kieker, head of visitBerlin, is hopeful that the long weekend will bring a “handsome number of tourists”, he told the Tagesspiegel. He compared travellers to a herd of zebras and predicted hat once the leading animals made a move, everyone else would follow. Through his imaginary binoculars he can clearly make out the ‘leading zebras’ headed for Berlin: Chinese tourists.

The weather forecast is promising 22 degrees for tomorrow, and Kreuzberg’s Prinzenbad is reopening under strict rules: time-specific tickets have to be booked online, showers, changing rooms, slides and the kiddie paddling pool remain closed. After each time slot, swimmers will be kicked out and premises disinfected for an hour. Also allowed to open now are the beaches in Lübars, Friedrichshagen, Jungfernheide and Plötzensee, which all list their specific rules online.

Last but not least, we at EXB have some of our own news to share today: the launch of our Startnext crowdfunding campaign to get us back into print and allow us to pay all our wonderful freelancers! Corona has hit Exberliner hard, as all our usual cultural partners had to pull their ads. We’re now turning to you, our readers, to give us the push we need to continue producing local indie journalism. And we’ve got some pretty cool rewards waiting, so make sure to check it out!