In Brief: Berlin Senate expected to ease contact restrictions next week, though social distancing rules will remain

The minimum space businesses must have per customer is also expected to be relaxed, but city officials say social distancing and masking requirements will continue - and may even be enforced.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, William Glucroft and Sylvia Cunningham

The Berlin Senate is expected to lift many of the remaining coronavirus-related restrictions next week. 

That includes easing or even removing limits on how many members of individual households can meet and how many people can attend indoor or outdoor events like weddings.

The minimum space businesses must have per customer is also expected to be relaxed from 20 square meters⁠ — or 215 square feet ⁠— down to 10 square meters, which is a little under 108 square feet.

But city officials say social distancing and masking requirements will continue.

Berlin has required people visiting shops and on public transit to cover their noses and months since the end of April but didn’t enforce it.

Now, city lawmakers may give those rules some teeth.

Social Democrat Tino Schopf, who is a member of Berlin’s House of Representatives, said he sees 60-70% compliance on public transport but that the remaining passengers are traveling irresponsibly.

Lawmakers will again take up the question of fines for people who fail to cover up their noses and mouths next week, and this time, they are expected to have the votes.

Proponents said mask enforcement is vital to keeping the coronavirus in check as Berlin life returns to normal. Critics said it’s unclear whether the city has the authority to impose fines, and it would be too burdensome for the police.

For more information on current COVID-19 rules in Berlin, click here for our coronavirus information page.

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Germany’s top court yesterday upheld the conviction of a driver who fatally struck another motorist while taking part in an illegal road race in Berlin.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled the driver’s murder conviction is justified, which means he is sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 2016, the man who is known in accordance with German privacy rules as Hamdi H. hit and killed a 69-year-old driver while racing down Berlin’s famous Ku’damm boulevard.

Meanwhile the fate of the second driver who took part in the race — but did not strike the victim — is less clear. His case will return to a Berlin district court for the third time.

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

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