In Brief: Berlin court suspends fines for people who violate social distancing rules

Several other fines remain in place, including those for violating hygiene rules.

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Benjamin Restle and Sylvia Cunningham

The Berlin Constitutional Court yesterday ended the city’s ability to fine people who violate social distancing rules or fail to keep social contacts to a bare minimum.

The judges ruled the language in the city’s so-called “catalogue of fines” was not defined enough and could lead “law-abiding citizens to restrict their fundamental rights even further than is necessary to avoid committing an administrative offense.”

Several other fines remain in place, however, including those for violating hygiene rules and the maximum number of people allowed at meetings.

Meanwhile, the city Senate will decide tomorrow whether to remove limits on how many people can take part in protests.

Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel told public broadcaster rbb that the government will continue to carefully ease the rules, but that restrictions on people’s civil rights clearly have to end.

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The German government is considering scrapping travel warnings for 31 European countries.

German news agency dpa reports the federal cabinet could decide as early as today to lift its warning against visiting EU member states starting on June 15.

The lifting would also apply to the U.K., as well as to fellow Schengen countries Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The German travel warning issued on March 17 would be replaced with individual country warnings that would be triggered in the case of increases in new COVID-19 infections.

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The Berlin Administrative Court has denied a woman’s request to hold her wedding ceremony this weekend with 80 guests.

Due to pandemic-related rules in the city, a maximum of 20 people are currently allowed to gather for private or family events, including weddings, funerals and baptisms.

The court ruled that limit is meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The judges said that the bride could postpone the ceremony or hold it with a fewer number of guests.

The woman can also appeal the decision to the city’s higher court.

 

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk. 

For up-to-date information on what you should be doing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, check our fact sheet. 

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