In Brief: Berlin Senate lifts contact restrictions as of Saturday but will also impose fines for those not following masking requirement

The Berlin Senate also agreed to ease other restrictions starting on Saturday and scrapped the limit on how many members of different households can meet.

Photo by: Life of Pix, Pexels

By Sylvia Cunningham, William Glucroft and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

As of Saturday, Berlin will impose fines ranging from 50 to 500 euros on people who don’t cover up their noses and mouths while on public transit.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller told reporters yesterday though many people are following the rules, there are others who – either consciously or unconsciously – simply do not, which is why this rule will now be enforced.

He also announced there will be spot checks at restaurants and bars to make sure those establishments are following rules like the minimum of a 1.5-meter – roughly 5 feet – distance between tables.

But the Berlin Senate also agreed to ease other restrictions starting on Saturday and scrapped the limit on how many members of different households can meet.

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

Head here for up-to-date information regarding the management of COVID-19 in Berlin.

***

Germany has banned another Neo-Nazi group, the third ban of a far-right organization this year. 

The group called Nordadler — or Northern Eagle — is reported to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

In a tweet, the interior ministry spokesman said police raids on group members’ properties in North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony followed the ban’s announcement.

German public broadcaster MDR reports the group was active mainly online, but also wanted to establish a rural settlement with like-minded people.

Authorities have been investigating them since at least 2018, when members reportedly tried to acquire weapons.

***

Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia have locked down the city of Gütersloh.

It’s the first German city to be locked down since restrictions were lifted.

State officials said it was necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 following an outbreak at a meat-processing plant in Gütersloh. More than 1,500 workers have tested positive.

Officials in the nearby district of Warendorf will also impose strict COVID-19 measures through at least June 30. Schools and day care centers will close there starting tomorrow.

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

Whether it’s our coverage of the coronavirus, rent freezes or more light-hearted subjects like Berlin’s pandas, you can count us for factual and informative content. We are the go-to source for the English-as-a-common-language community in Berlin and beyond. The pandemic will challenge us to find new ways of doing reporting, but we will continue to bring you the programming you love and news you can trust. We are a listener-funded public radio station, driven by donors like you. So please consider donating today to keep us on air, online and in your community.