In Brief: Business owners across Germany challenge lockdown rules in state courts

Many of the urgent motions filed in Berlin come from restaurateurs who want to see the November restrictions lifted.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

 

By Monika Müller-Kroll and Kate Brady

Numerous business owners are challenging the German government’s current lockdown rules in court.

The Berlin administrative court received 39 urgent complaints on Monday afternoon alone, according to public broadcaster ARD.

Most were from restaurant owners who argue limiting their service in November to just takeout and delivery is unfair, given they’ve instituted extensive hygiene concepts in recent months.

Several hotel, tanning salon, and gym owners across Germany have also filed motions to overturn the pandemic restrictions.

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The latest figures from Germany’s employment agency show that companies in the Berlin-Brandenburg region were hit particularly hard during the first wave of the pandemic.

Germany-wide, 33% of companies surveyed stated that in May they were “mostly negatively affected” by the coronavirus crisis. In Berlin-Brandenburg, it was 43%.

The number of unemployed has also increased, especially in Berlin.

Unemployment last month in the capital’s hotel industry alone was up more than 50% compared to October 2019.

With Germany now in partial lockdown, the employment agency fears there will be more economic consequences, particularly in the hospitality and culture sectors.

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A new report from the Berlin Senate finds the city’s air quality improved significantly last year.

The report cites a 20% drop in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels and an up to 25% drop in particulate matter on some busy city streets. All in all, the levels are the lowest since Berlin started monitoring air quality, according to the officials who compiled the findings.

Berlin’s Senator for the Environment Regine Günther credits the improvement to measures like banning diesel vehicles in some parts of the city and so-called Tempo 30 speed limits on more than two dozen Berlin streets.

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

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