In Brief: Berlin court upholds masking requirement on public transit and in stores

The judges ruled the masking requirement on public transport and in stores is justified under the public health law.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels.

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Sylvia Cunningham

The Berlin Administrative Court has rejected several lawsuits filed over restrictions the city has imposed related to COVID-19.

The judges upheld the rule mandating that people wear protective masks on public transit and in stores, saying the requirement didn’t overly encroach on civil rights and was justified under the public health law.

The court did, however, open the door to filing an appeal.

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Meanwhile, Berlin is continuing to ease COVID-19 restrictions, but the Berlin Senate has come up with an emergency plan in case there’s a rise in the number of infections.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller said on Tuesday officials will be evaluating three main factors to keep the spread of the coronavirus under control. Those include: The transmission rate, the number of available intensive care beds, and the amount of infections per 100,000 people.

Think of it like a traffic light: Right now we’re in the green because all three factors are stable. But if the number of infections rises to 20 per 100,000 people, we’ll be in the yellow and if it rises to 30, we’ll be in the red, meaning restrictions might have to be tightened once more.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last week that states would be implementing emergency plans for areas where 50 or more infections per 100,000 people are reported, but that number is too high for Berlin, said Health Senator Dilek Kalayci. At its peak, Berlin had 37 infections per 100,000 people, she said.

Berlin’s plan faced immediate criticism from one doctor in Berlin. Dr. Patrick Larscheid told the German news agency dpa that the upper limits on infections are “arbitrary.” He also said the plan left open questions about who would be advising officials on what steps to take if areas in Berlin are classified as yellow or red.

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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