By Sylvia Cunningham and Caleb Larson
Berlin restaurants are pleading with the Berlin Senate for more emergency aid in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has local businesses struggling to stay afloat.
Appealing to Berlin Mayor Michael Müller in an open letter, about 150 restaurant owners asked for the immediate help to pay their employees’ salaries and protect them from potential eviction.
Jeannine Kessler from the Kreuzberg restaurant Horváth said it was critical that help come swiftly and without delay. She said it’s not an option for all restaurants to only offer takeaway or delivery.
Last week the Berlin Senate poured 600 million euros into emergency aid funds to help businesses and freelancers.
German media report as many as 200,000 elderly patients in Germany could be left without care if their foreign caregivers leave Germany because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 300,000 Central and Eastern European caregivers provide home care for the elderly in Germany, and fear of COVID-19 has many already leaving.
According to public broadcaster ARD, not even long waits to cross Germany’s borders are slowing the departures of those caregivers, most of whom work off the books.
If the departures continue, the elderly will have to be transferred to senior citizen homes or clinics, an official with the Association for Home Care and Nursing told the network.
But the official added that those facilities don’t have the space to absorb them.
The BVG’s on-demand ride-sharing service BerlKönig is stopping service for everyone other than Berlin healthcare workers starting today.
The vans will only be on the move from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., picking up doctors, nurses and emergency care workers from their homes and dropping them off at work.
The BVG says the service will be free of charge as a way of saying thanks to medical professionals who are on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.