#12: BER, corona, wolves, Gorillas (again)
Coalition talks for Berlin's new government might start as early as this weekend but otherwise nothing is quite working right in Berlin. But we love it anyway.
Although complaining is a national past-time in Germany and a part-time job for many Berliners, the constant negativity about our beleaguered new airport is reason for concern, especially this weekend, when fall break begins.
FBB, the company that runs the airport, expects 900,000 passengers to pass through BER from Friday to Monday, half of the 1.8 million at Berlin’s old airports during Herbstferien in pre-corona 2019 but a record for a Flughafen with a sketchy record. Come at least two hours ahead of time and have any and all documentation at hand, the company told Tagesspiegel.
Translated to Berlinerisch: Thanks for the billions in tax money. You’re on your own.
See you in line this weekend,
Andrew & Maurice
Berlin corona stats for Friday, October 8
Fully vaccinated: 64.8% (64.5% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 516 (659 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 3,646 (+15 over Tuesday)
🟡 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 74.4 (76.6 Tuesday)
🟢 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 1.3 (1.3 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 7.9% (8.1% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
A few actual words about corona
Signs are pointing toward an eventual lifting of German corona regulations - a German Freedom Day, if you wanna usurp UK wording. Pre-election experts said politicians would be loathe to touch corona restrictions but with that out of the way - Bob’s your uncle, as they say on that damp island. German media are crowing about an 80 percent shadow vaccination rate today, which would align us with Denmark, where restrictions have been history for weeks. The shadow rate isn’t new but its resurgence by government disease expert Robert Koch Institute seems … convenient. No changes yet but we’ll keep you informed.
Wolves wanna live inside the (Autobahn) ring
You may soon be sharing a Besichtigung with a pack of carnivorous canines. A photographer discovered a first-ever pack of wolves (two adults, four pups) in the Döbritzer Heide reserve north of Potsdam, the Heinz Sielmann foundation, which oversees the preserve, announced this week. The Heide is about 30km from Alexanderplatz. A pack usually needs more room and they’ve already hunted sheep and goats but the foundation thinks there may be enough deer and boar to keep the new residents fed … for now. For those that never venture beyond the S-Bahn ring, Germany’s capital is also roped in by the A10 ring Autobahn.
Care strike over at Charité, but not Vivantes
A month-long strike seeking better working conditions for care and service personnel at Berlin’s three publicly owned Charité hospitals ended Thursday - with better conditions for care and service personnel. Employees will be responsible for fewer patients after the hospital agreed to increase care ranks by up to 15 percent or just bump up hours for part-timers. Charité was able to fold because it gets extra funding as a university hospital but the strike will continue at the eight state-owned Vivantes hospitals because they don’t have as much financial flexibility, according to Tagesspiegel. The strikes have led to reduced services and capacity at the 11 hospitals.
And, who’s going to govern Berlin?
As this newsletter goes to print, presumptive mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) is deciding who to enter final coalition negotiations with and it looks like the environmental Die Grüne and leftist Die Linke, continuing the red-red-green coalition of the last five years. Pre-election she had pushed a more conservative coalition of her center-left SPD with the pro-business FDP and center-right CDU. But she and the Berlin FDP have had little good to say about each other this week and members of her own party came out in favor of the current coalition, meaning anything else could spark a messy internal battle.
Interior minister Andreas Geisel (SPD) said Friday voters in up to three of Berlin’s 2,200 polling precincts may have to re-vote after officials flubbed the election so badly that results in those precincts can’t be trusted. National results weren’t hurt by the incompetence but the elections for our city-state’s parliament may have been, he said. We didn’t get the airport right the first time either.
Gorillas being Gorillas
Does this company actually deliver groceries or just focus on getting negative press? The upstart Berlin delivery firm suffered more wildcat strikes in the past week at various warehouses and fired as many as 350 workers involved in the unrest, according to Taz. So many workers were fired that it reportedly had to use temp firm Zenjobs to replace the employees. With that many let go at a year-old company, a cynical observer might wonder if management weren’t trying to camouflage some cost-cutting and a wildly unprofitable business model behind a labor battle (or, as one reader pointed out, the protests are being supported by competitors to improve their own image).
See you Tuesday! And thanks again for your support.