The city of Berlin is imposing the closure of bars and restaurants between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Saturday to stem the worrying increase in Covid-19 infections.
The city of Frankfurt has taken a similar measure, which came into effect on Friday evening, with the closure of bars and restaurants and the ban on the sale of alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
In Berlin, this curfew, which affects all stores except pharmacies and gas stations, will be in place at least until October 31.
The sale of alcohol in gas stations or grocery stores will also be prohibited from 11:00 p.m.
No time to celebrate
“This is not the time to party”, had justified October 6 the Social Democratic mayor of the capital, Michael Müller, to justify this measure. “We can and we want to prevent another more severe confinement”, he added, addressing more particularly the age group between 20 and 40 years.
“After three glasses of wine, we respect the barrier gestures a little less,” explained Dirk Behrendt, in charge of the justice portfolio for the city of Berlin.
The left-wing municipality has also decided to severely restrict social contact.
From now on, between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., outdoor gatherings should not exceed five people. During the day, this gauge remains fixed for the moment at 50.
These restrictions are even stronger for indoor gatherings where, throughout the day, a maximum of 10 people can meet instead of the 25 planned so far.
These measures mainly target home parties and illegal parties, which the Berlin authorities consider to be the spread of the new coronavirus.
The epidemic situation is worrying in the capital, with an incidence rate of more than 50 for several days (more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants) and more than 400 new cases daily, which now classify Berlin in the “zones to risk”.
The Bars of Berlin collective considers this closure measure “disastrous” and is working on a possible legal remedy.
Berlin had some 9,800 restaurant chains in 2018, including more than 1,700 bars or pubs, according to the Statista institute.
This is a new blow to the Berlin economy, already hard hit by the closure of clubs for several months.
The nightlife of the German capital is an essential component of the city’s economy. The clubs alone brought the city over € 1.5 billion in 2018.