Discover more from 20 Percent Berlin
#53: Refugees, corona rules, poor schools, Tesla
And a stand-up comedy night for Ukraine...
Hi 20 Percent,
If you had told me two weeks ago I wouldn’t be ecstatic about the clubs re-opening, I would have told you you should save whatever you’re smoking for March 4, when the clubs re-open.
But last night I realized the one thing I seem to have spent the last two years doing is learning. Learning about masks. Learning about aerosols. Learning about past pandemics.
And, with a Guardian article open on my phone, a quirky German policy magazine in my lap (Blätter) and the third documentary of the week on my TV, learning about contemporary Russian and Soviet history. I hope it somehow helps. And next is to learn more about Ukraine (and donate more — maybe while out clubbing tonight).
Have a good weekend. Let’s hope things get better.
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, March 4
Fully vaccinated: 76.6% (76.6% Tuesday)
Received booster: 58.4% (58.1% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 7,005 (6,389 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,273 (+28 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 901.9 (1,043 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 16.7 (16.2 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 11.1% (12.7% Tuesday)
Facilities appearing for refugees
Berlin will set up a tent with room for 1,000 people on Washingtonplatz, adjacent to Hauptbahnhof, to give refugees a place to rest after arriving from Ukraine, according to public broadcaster RBB. They will then be taken by shuttle bus to temporary housing. An estimated 6,500 arrived in Berlin Thursday, with two-thirds able to fend for themselves with relatives or friends. The remainder will be looked after by the city-state. The Malteser charity will also reportedly set up similar tents at the ZOB bus station in Charlottenburg. Berlin’s main Ukrainian refugee home in Reinickendorf is already full and the city is looking for a second location — Brandenburg still has room for about 1,000 refugees. About 120 orphans will arrive from a Jewish home near Odessa Friday — Chabad Berlin sponsored their flight from Ukraine and will house them in Wilmersdorf, according to Tagesspiegel.
Racist treatment of refugees?
Germany’s federal police Thursday deflected accusations of racism after it was accused of intentionally removing Africans from refugee trains at the German border — an unusually high number of federal police officers could be seen at the train station in Frankfurt an der Oder, RBB reported. “We’re not worried about the person, where they come from. It’s about the status of that person,” federal police officer Jens Schobranksi told the broadcaster. Officers said they must ensure Ukrainian refugees were legitimately in the Eastern European country before allowing them entry into Germany. If they lack the proper paperwork, they are reportedly first sent back to Poland. If Polish authorities deny them entry, Germany’s foreign office gets involved.
The latest corona regs, soon basically no corona regs
The city’s clubs can re-open today in the penultimate step in restriction-easing before everything but masks are expected to disappear March 20. Clubs have to stick to what can only be termed 2G+: Revelers have to be vaccinated and show a negative test from the past 24 hours (even those with booster shots must have a negative test - we previously reported that partiers had to have both a booster and a test. This was incorrect and we apologize for the error). Events are also still limited to those with booster shots or a recent recovery. However, restaurants and bars as well as theaters (movie and otherwise) have now been downgraded to 3G — the only thing required for entry is a negative test. 3G is also now the rule for gymnasiums, swimming pools, dance studios, saunas and gyms (fitness studios) — public swimming pools have also doubled their capacity starting Friday. Personal body services (think hair and nails) are also now 3G.
Poor, not so sexy
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to use the same school bathroom as the city’s schoolchildren, then you know just what a fresh cut in school funding means for the buildings. Special discretionary funds provided to public schools by the city-state government have been slashed to €3,000 per school starting this year from €28,000 previously, according to RBB24. The cash was usually used to buy furniture, make repairs or hire additional staff. Schools can still turn to borough councils for help with repairs but the cuts will clearly hurt Berlin’s already weak public school system — our schools always rank near the bottom in comparisons with the country’s 15 other states.
Tesla finally legit
The Tesla plant in Grünheide, southeast of Berlin in Brandenburg, Friday will receive its final approval from building officials with an opening planned for the end of March, according to the Tagesspiegel. The paper said Elon Musk himself is expected to appear at the ribbon cutting and police are already making preparations for an electric event (do you see what I did there?). The plant, first announced in 2019, was built entirely under the guise of temporary permits and now finally has an official permit which would allow the California carmaker to build. Were it only so easy to get an Anmeldung.
Nosferatu, a silent filming of Dracula, debuted March 4, 1922 — a century ago — in the Berlin zoo’s marble hall, at the time the largest space in the capital. Unlike the original Dracula, which was set in England, the film played in 19th century northern Germany because the producers didn’t buy the rights to Dracula (which also explains the new title). The film featured the appropriately named Max Schreck (Schreck means scare in German) as the vampire. It was filmed in and around Berlin and in the north of the country — the marble hall was destroyed in WWII.
Comedy for Ukraine
Propaganda Comedy will donate part of the proceeds of Saturday’s Eastern European Special #24 to SAVELIFE.IN.UA. The evening features the best Berlin-based comics from Eastern Europe performing in English at Belushi’s on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Mitte. Tix here.