By Sylvia Cunningham and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Berliners flouting Germany’s rules on social distancing must now be prepared to pay the price.
Berlin, along with a growing number of German states, have decided to impose hefty fines on people who disobey the nationwide restrictions designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Among the fines Berlin officials will impose are up to 500 euros for people failing to keep the minimum 1.5-meter distance from others and up to 10,000 euros for non-exempt businesses that keep their doors open.
In neighboring Brandenburg, fines also range from 50 to 10,000 euros for violating rules like visiting playgrounds or gathering for club meetings.
Repeat offenders in both places may be charged up to 25,000 euros.
In a video message, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who this week urged global unity in a Financial Times opinion piece, urged people to reach for the best in themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says that the crisis is “strangely unreal,” and brings people’s deepest fears to the surface. But the pandemic also presents an opportunity, he says.
Steinmeier says if people show humanity and solidarity, then German society will not fall apart and instead, people will grow closer.
He also suggests that those who are able support stores that have been closed by the pandemic by ordering a gift certificate or food there to help keep the businesses afloat.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.