Big crowds outside German clubs as ‘dancing ban’ finally lifted

Police dispersed a sizeable crowd from outside a Berlin night spot, while partygoers packed out clubs in other cities on the first weekend that nightlife was allowed to reopen after months of pandemic restrictions.

Big crowds outside German clubs as 'dancing ban' finally lifted
People dance at a club in Frankfurt on March 4th. Photo: dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

After a huge crowd of up to 2,000 people gathered in the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin on Friday evening, several people suffered panic attacks, police reported.

One man fainted and a woman had to be taken to hospital. Some 70 officers were sent to the club to disperse the crowd.

As of Friday, clubs up and down the country are allowed to open for the first time since the autumn after the so-called ‘Tanzverbot’ was lifted as part of an easing of Covid restrictions.

Clubs have to open with 2G plus entry rules, meaning only vaccinated and recovered people can get through the door on the condition that they have a negative test result.

After big crowds turned out to party in Frankfurt, Victor Oswalt, spokesman for the organisation Clubs am Main, confirmed that “there was a lot of interest.”

“You could tell that something important had been missing for a very long time,” he said.

Hamburg’s public was also eager to fill out its dance floors. Long lines were seen in front of several well-known clubs.

“It was very crowded, especially at the Sternbrücke,” said Thore Debor, managing director of Hamburg’s Clubkombinat.

Debor said that “it was definitely a liberating moment” but added that he’d heard reports that people were initially unsure about dancing.

Bavarians meanwhile flocked over the border into the Austrian town of Obendorf, where clubs were opening for the first time as part of an end to most restrictions.

Police asked one club there to open its doors early to allow people in after a huge crowd had gathered outside. As people pressed to get inside, some people lost consciousness. One person had to receive treatment from the Red Cross.

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Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

With the EU changing its Covid recommendations for flights, there is some confusion around whether people boarding a plane in Germany will still need to wear a mask. Here's what we know so far.

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

As of Monday, the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC no longer recommend mandatory Covid masks in airports and on planes.

However, if masks are compulsory at the point of departure or destination, this should continue to apply in aircraft as well, they say.

So, what does this mean for passengers boarding flights in Germany? At the moment, not very much at all. 

In Germany, the Infection Protection Act still stipulates that masks have to be worn on long-distance trains and planes. Masks are also compulsory on local public transport.

The previous weeks have seen Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) come out in favour of scrapping compulsory masks – especially on flights.

But so far, nothing concrete has been done to change the Infection Protection Act, which is due to expire on September 23rd. 

READ ALSO: German politicians row over lifting mandatory Covid mask rule

What are the current rules on flights? 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, masks are compulsory on all flights taking off or landing in Germany.

FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight, though they can be removed when eating and drinking.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement. 

The ministry has argued that the obligation to wear masks also complies with the new EU recommendations. 

What are the rules acros the EU? 

In general, the relaxed EU recommendation does not mean that masks are no longer compulsory on all flights. However, many countries have kept this measure in place as a simple way to reduce infection. 

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, published a list of 14 EU countries in which national laws continue to require the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid.

Besides Germany, popular tourist destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are included on the list. 

In other EU countries, the airline said it would be dropping mandatory masks on flights, adding that it “welcomed” the relaxed recommendations from the EU health authorities.  

READ ALSO: Will Germany soon get rid of mandatory face masks on public transport?