#47: Loosening corona rules, a racist attack, U-Bahn tickets
And the way to dual citizenship is through a government appointment.
Hello 20 Percent!
Just a quick thanks to our Patreon subscribers, who have let us know they appreciate what we’re doing. When I started at a certain Berliner newspaper over a year ago to support their English site, I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring local news to the 20 Percent and increase involvement in this city of ours. Alas, while we thought that, management didn’t (they mostly ignored us) and we were let go after just a year.
And while I thought this newsletter was a great idea, I was cautious until I saw the response, both on social media and now via Patreon. So, to say thank you, we’re lining up some deals with local businesses to reward our subscribers. Shortly I’ll send them an offer to get 20 percent off two tickets to Comedy Cafe Berlin, a place that I’ve both seen and performed in any number of great comedy shows over the years. Check them out!
But thanks to everyone for reading. And have a great weekend!
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, February 11
Fully vaccinated: 75.8% (75.6% Tuesday)
Received booster: 56.3% (55.4% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: +10,164 (9,578 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,164 (+24 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 1,413.8 (1,640.4 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 26.6 (25.2 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 15.9% (17.5% Tuesday)
An end of sorts is nigh(ish)
Berlin politicians Tuesday will replace the 2G requirement on non-essential retail with a requirement for shoppers to wear FFP2 masks and listen to expert opinions on when to ease other regulations. The Berlin Senat waited to make the change so that it could include similar changes to museum visits as well as potentially theaters but, mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said, restaurants and bars will have to wait for fewer restrictions. You can’t eat or drink while wearing an FFP2 mask, she said. The federal government will also begin discussing an end to some or all restrictions during a meeting between chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the heads of the country’s 16 states Wednesday, according to Reuters. The federal law governing corona restrictions expires March 19, though they can just extend it once again.
Forget the two-minute timer on the BVG app
Subway riders must have a valid ticket before boarding the train or they may face a €60 fine for riding without a ticket. Public transport authority BVG last year issued 4,500 tickets to riders who bought a ticket after boarding the subway, according to Tagesspiegel. Riders are often confused by a two-minute timer that counts down after buying a ticket in the BVG app. The timer doesn’t mean a ticket is valid, it was included as an indicator to the authority’s feared ticket checkers that the rider may have only bought the ticket once the checkers announced their presence. “The ticket is valid as soon as its purchased,” BVG spokesperson Jannes Schwentu told the paper. “This has to happen before entering the train.” BVG issued a total 286,500 fines for fare dodging - Schwarzfahren - last year.
It was a racist attack after all
The 17-year-old victim of a racist attack in Prenzlauer Berg took to Instagram Tuesday after police and Berlin media incorrectly said her refusal to wear a mask landed her in the hospital. “I was attacked … because I’m a foreigner,” she said in the post, which was filmed from her hospital bed and has since been removed. The woman has Turkish roots but is German. In her minutes-long post, the victim said racist insults were first hurled at her on the tram and, after disembarking at Greifswalder Straße, two adult men held her while their female companions beat her. She filmed parts of the interaction, which allowed police to arrest three of the six attackers at a nearby bar. Police - and media outlets - blamed a “confusing” police report for the incorrect information about the Saturday attack while admitting the motive was racism.
Want a German passport? The foreign minister can help
American Jennifer Morgan, part of Berlin’s 20 Percent since 2003, is on a fast-track to German citizenship after foreign minister Annalena Baerbock (Die Grüne) Wednesday appointed her as a special envoy for climate policy, according to widespread reports. Once Morgan has German citizenship, she can then have a more formal role in Baerbock’s foreign ministry (Staatssekretärin). Morgan has been co-leader of environmental activists Greenpeace International since 2016 and her appointment raised hackles in the opposition, because they’re the opposition (they’re annoyed at her non-Germanness and role in a lobbying organization even if that organization is lobbying to save our planet).
The Pet Shop Boys are one in a long line of artists to be inspired by Berlin. Indeed, Neil Tennant told Der Spiegel in 2020 that he and Chris Lowe had been writing most of their music here for about 10 years. It was therefore only a matter of time before they recorded an album at Hansa Studios near Potsdamer Platz. Hotspot, released a couple of years ago, was described by one reviewer as “a hangover album for just before the hangover hits.” Needless to say, it includes the almost obligatory Hauptstadt-related pun (Wedding in Berlin), but don’t let that put you off. - Andrew Blackman
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