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EXPLAINED: How Berlin’s new eased rules on social gatherings affect you

EXPLAINED: How Berlin's new eased rules on social gatherings affect you
Berliners gather in James Simon Park on June 13th to enjoy the sun. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Kalaene
The Berlin Senate announced sweeping changes to Covid restrictions on Tuesday, including scrapping contact restrictions for outdoor gatherings entirely.

What’s happening?

On Tuesday, the Berlin Senate decided to lift all restrictions on private outdoor gatherings in the city.

This means that Berliners will soon be allowed to meet up with their friends in outdoor spaces without worrying about the number of people or households present. 

Contact restrictions will likely still remain in place indoors, however, where up to 10 people from 5 different households are currently allowed to gather. 

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The news was broken by regional news outlet RBB24, who obtained a draft detailing the proposed changes ahead of Tuesday’s debate in the Senate. It was later confirmed by Senators in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. 

Haven’t they already eased restrictions? 

The news follows the easing of a number of other restrictions in the German capital last week.

From Friday, June 18th, the requirement to wear masks outdoors – including in busy central areas of the city and at zoos –  was lifted, along with the ban on selling alcohol between midnight and 5am.

Friday also saw a doubling of the amount of people allowed at outdoor (from 500 to 1,000) and indoor events (from 100 to 250), and an end to the so-called ‘dancing ban’ or Tanzverbot, meaning that 250 people can now attend outdoor parties at clubs, as long as they test negative for Covid-19.  

READ ALSO: Berlin dancing ban ends on Friday: what you need to know

Other relaxations that came in on Friday included the reopening of indoor pools, saunas, and thermal baths, to visitors who are fully vaccinated or can present a negative test. 

Theme parks, fairs, casinos and amusement arcades are also allowed to reopen to visitors, with the obligation to wear an FPP2 mask while moving around the venue. 

To the undoubted relief of parents around the city, the Senate also plans to end restrictions on nurseries from June 21st, opening the facilities to all young children in need of care. 

What else are they planning?

With infections falling sharply in the city, the Berlin Senate has now gone further, with a number of new relaxations that come into force on July 3rd: 

  • Public events: In early July, the number of people allowed at public outdoor events will double once more, from 1000 to 2000, while for indoor events the number of permitted attendees has gone up to 500. Those present at these outdoor events – which includes sports tournaments – will only have to take a test if more than 500 people will be present
  • Private events: Up to 50 people are now allowed to gather indoors at private events like birthdays and weddings, while up to 100 people are allowed to gather outside
  • Gyms, sports centres and music schools: In covered sports areas such as gyms, fitness studios and dance halls, visitors must now only wear a medical mask rather than an FPP2 mask specifically. The same goes for education facilities such as adult education centres and music schools
  • Attendance records: In libraries, shops, museums and galleries, visitors will no longer be obliged to leave their names, addresses and contact details
  • Universities: University facilities such as libraries will be permitted to reopen to the general public 

The Senate has also decided that in-person classes will resume at full capacity after the school holidays end in autumn. 

What’s the Covid-19 situation in Berlin right now? 

The infection rates in Berlin have been falling sharply in recent weeks, allowing the Senate to continually reopen key parts of public life and business. 

READ ALSO: ‘Confidence with caution’ – Germany’s Covid rate halves in a week

In the past seven days, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute, only 7.1 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants were reported in the city.

This falls slightly under the national figure of eight new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. 

A week ago, the seven-day incidence was 13.6.


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