By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Caleb Larson
Restaurants and cafes in Berlin and Brandenburg reopen tomorrow, but face strict pandemic rules and limited hours.
The Berlin Hotel and Restaurant Association is calling on its members to strictly abide by hygiene guidelines, including making sure the staff wears masks and sets tables apart.
Association Manager Thomas Lengfelder told German news agency dpa it would be an “absolute catastrophe” if opening restaurants leads to a rise in infections that would necessitate shutting down again two weeks from now.
Lengfelder warned that emergency funds for proprietors are running low and another lockdown would finish many businesses.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn says that there is no longer a mask shortage in Germany.
In an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit, Spahn responded to criticism of mask procurement, which is managed by the federal government.
“Should we have bought masks earlier? Yes,” he said. But Spahn also denied standing in the way of mask purchases.
Spahn asked for understanding, saying that while the shortage is clear in retrospect, it wasn’t anticipated at the time. He also explained that now the shortage is over, the goal is to move mask production to Germany, rather than importing them from abroad.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.