Berlin stops public life

Berlin stops public life

© Photo: JOrg Carstensen / dpa
Michael Muller (SPD), Governing Mayor of Berlin.

In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, Berlin, like other federal states, takes drastic measures and severely restricts public life. The red-red-green Senate made decisions on this at a special session on Friday that had never been seen before. The aim is to contain the new virus. “It must be clear to everyone that we have a crisis to overcome here that cannot be resolved in the next few days, probably not in the next few weeks or months,” said Prime Minister Michael Muller (SPD) and spoke of “a joint effort” .

All events that are not urgently needed should be restricted and prohibited, says Muller. The aim is to minimize the risk of infection. That is why it is so important to keep social contacts to a minimum. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) also appealed to citizens to show solidarity “by keeping a distance”. This is “an apparently paradoxical thing”. However, the best way to help the weakest, the elderly and people with previous illnesses is “if social contacts are avoided as much as possible”.

An overview:

INFECTIONS: According to the health administration, the virus has now been detected in almost 160 people. 83 men and 74 women in Berlin have Sars-CoV-2 according to Friday. In another case, the gender was not known. Eight patients are treated in clinics. Everyone else is isolated at home.

SCHOOLS: Schools will shut down from next week. The upper secondary schools will be closed on Monday, according to education senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD). From Tuesday, operations in the other schools such as primary schools and high schools will be discontinued. However, final exams should take place. Emergency care for children of parents in the health system, police and fire service should be organized.

The Education and Science Union said the Abitur exams were a problem due to the lack of teaching weeks. One possibility would be to postpone exams and to “hang up” on the canceled weeks of classes.

According to a letter from the education administration, there are now no school trips, excursions or other school events.

KITAS: Childcare facilities should close on Tuesday, Senator Scheeres announced. However, emergency care for children of certain occupational groups such as fire brigade and police should also be ensured here.

TRANSPORT: According to the traffic senate, public transport – buses and trains of the BVG and the S-Bahn – should be maintained as long as possible without restrictions. Prime Minister Muller had previously spoken of “adapting to needs”.

Sunday driving bans for trucks were lifted until June 1 to ensure the supply of the population.

SPORT: Berlin’s swimming pools will remain closed until April 19th. The measure will come into effect on Saturday, the bathing companies said on Friday. At first it remained unclear whether privately operated sports facilities should close – such as fitness or yoga studios.

The Berlin Half Marathon does not take place either. On the first weekend in April, the 40th anniversary event of the running event with around 34,000 participants was on the program. The 21,095 km run is one of the largest half marathons in the world. Athletes from more than 100 nations originally announced themselves. It was still unclear whether the running event could take place later. As well as possible compensation.

The season of the 1st Volleyball Bundesliga for women and men was canceled. Originally, the main round was to be concluded with ghost games without spectators. This means that there will be no champions for the first time in the Bundesliga history in the 2019/20 season. The Berlin Volleys cannot defend their championship title this year.

NIGHTLIFE: Clubs, bars and pubs are due to close in the middle of next week. In the area of ​​catering, the area that serves the food should be maintained. The legal basis for this step should therefore be decided on Tuesday. So many details were still unclear. According to Muller, the situation is to be reassessed on April 20.

Berlin’s famous Berghain techno club had already canceled all of its own events by that date. The risk of infection should be particularly high in full clubs when dancing, standing tightly and speaking loudly. In the “Trumpet” club in the Tiergarten district, among other things, numerous people became infected in one evening.

CULTURE: During the closure of museums, theaters and opera houses, the RBB wants to show as many cultural offers as possible on television and stream them on the Internet. “The RBB does it” – under this motto the broadcast of around 15 productions is under discussion, said the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB). The “Carmen” production from the State Opera Unter den Linden with Daniel Barenboim on the podium will be broadcast on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on RBB television. The RBB wants to contribute that the intellectual-cultural life of the region does not come to a standstill.

In Berlin, all theaters and opera houses are to remain closed until at least April 19. For the time being, visitors to the Jewish Museum, the German Historical Museum, the Allied Museum and the Museum of Film and Television can no longer come.

FOOD FOR THE NEEDY: The bars close temporarily. 90 percent of the approximately 60,000 volunteers who donate to 1.6 million people nationwide belong to the risk group of the elderly and have to be protected. The organization called for solidarity. Blackboards may need help setting up delivery services or packing groceries in bags or packages and serving them outdoors. There are currently fewer donations arriving.

POLITICS: “We let our party life rest,” tweeted the Berlin regional association of the SPD. «All events, election events and meetings of the Berlin #SPD will be canceled!». The Kurt-Schumacher-Haus is now closed to the public.

The Berlin Greens canceled their party congress on March 28. The state board decided to cancel or postpone all events that are not absolutely necessary until the end of the Easter holidays. “It is an act of solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our society to do everything possible to contain the virus,” it said.

CHURCHES: The Berlin Cathedral canceled all concerts, readings and lectures by April 19. The preacher Michael KOsling said that the church should remain open for services, devotions and vespers. Spacers in the rows of benches indicate a greater spatial distance. From this Sunday (March 15th) the services from the cathedral are to be broadcast online.

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