#28: Dancing verboten, bike theft, coke ring
Berlin politicians haven't imposed the strict corona regulations they said they would.
Welcome to Friday, 20 Percent!
Although this and last Christmas have been dampened by this virus, I’ve gotten an extra gift each year - the fireworks ban. Officials this week again banned the sale of the bangers (usually only allowed between Dec. 29 and 31), hoping to save some people a trip to a crowded hospital and give others one less reason to congregate and exchange viruses.
Don’t get me wrong, I love lighting off a firecracker as much as the next psychopath but what I don’t like is an entire city of psychopaths setting off an unimaginable number of fireworks all at the same time. It makes great social networking but an awful mess, plenty of pollution and unnecessary stress for the city-state’s pets and wildlife.
Let’s just make it permanent.
Berlin has created fireworks-free zones (because you can still buy them elsewhere and some have reserves from last year) on Alexanderplatz and the Steinmetz neighborhood in Schöneberg, with more expected. Why not do it the other way around? Set up fireworks-only zones, places where fireworks are allowed but nowhere else. I suggest Zehlendorf - residents there seem to have plenty of open space.
Have a good, firework-free weekend!
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The Berlin corona stats for Friday, December 3
Fully vaccinated: 69.4% (69.1% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: +2,539 (3,172 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 3,849 (+19 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 360.7 (372 Tuesday)
🟡 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 4.5 (4.1 Tuesday)
🔴 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 21% (19.1% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Berlin’s new corona rules
Phew! Despite Monday announcing a wish for a near-lockdown, Berlin politicians Friday instead said they would just make it illegal to dance in Berlin clubs starting Wednesday, December 8. People can meet, eat and drink in clubs but not gyrate to the music. Although federal politicians Tuesday said they wanted to shut bars and clubs in areas with incidences above 350, Berlin said laws must first be amended to allow the move. During a special session Friday, Berlin politicians also said they would limit major events outside to 5,000 people and inside to 2,500. The Union Berlin match against RB Leipzig tonight is unaffected since the rule won’t go into effect until Wednesday.
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Vaccinating kids and vaxx buses
Berlin is preparing to use mobile teams to offer kids between 5 and 11 vaccinations in Kitas and schools. The European Medicines Agency last month approved the Biontech vaccine in a lower dose for use in children and Germany’s vaccination commission is expected to soon recommend vaccinating kids. The kids vaccine is expected to be available mid-December. Meanwhile Berlin and the German Red Cross have ended a vaccination bus campaign because the buses weren’t equipped for winter. Four buses could vaccinate up to 150 people per day but the Red Cross told Tagesspiegel the buses were only a temporary solution.
Your bike wasn’t stolen, you just lost your turn
Police are asking for help finding a historic two-wheeler that was stolen Oct. 20 in Weißensee. The bike was made in 1896 by Brandt and was restored by its owner, who was apparently just riding the thing around town and locking it up in front of his place as if it weren’t a museum piece. Unlike your bike, it has a light - an acetylene light - and whip and whip holder (because Berlin?). If you see something, say something.
Cocaine ring sniffed out
Berlin officials Monday spearheaded a raid of 40 locations both locally and abroad to break up a cocaine smuggling operation that involved police officers, public officials and even a former Stasi officer. The raids netted €14.5 million, according to the Tagesspiegel, which claimed the group had brought just under 45 tonnes of powder to Berlin in 9 different shipments over the last decade. They were successful because they acted as their own logistics company for the shipments. Fourteen arrests were made, including one in Madrid and two in Latvia. A Berlin police officer is accused of destroying evidence for the group and several of his colleagues reportedly helped to cover up the officer’s crimes. Corrupt officials in a borough office also reportedly used their positions to look up confidential information.
S-Bahn officials fear its train drivers are staging an unofficial sick-out to protest the introduction of workplace 3G regulations. “The 3G rule is a factor,” an official from the GDL train drivers’ union told Tagesspiegel. The above-average number of sick days has led the S-Bahn, which is operated by national railway Deutsche Bahn, to reduce frequency on the S-1, 26, 3, 45, 5 and 85 through the end of the year. Officials also think drivers in risk groups are staying away to avoid catching the virus. Anti-vaxx protestors Saturday are reportedly planning to protest in a Ringbahn, hoping to make it maskless.
In 1930, a 45,000-seat soccer stadium in the shadow of Moabit prison hosted an early encounter between Germany and England (a thrilling 3-3 draw). The Poststadion, later dubbed the kleine Olympiastadion (little Olympic Stadium), also staged Germany's last match in the 1936 Games - a 2-0 defeat by outsiders Norway. Adolf Hitler was the guest of honor, his first - and last - taste of live football.
These days, the stadium - or at least what’s left of it - is home to BAK 07, a club in the fourth tier of German soccer. Unlike some Berlin teams we could mention, it's having an excellent season, despite losing to local rival BFC Dynamo on Tuesday night. - Andrew Blackman