#61: No masks, Wall path, Tempelhof, A100
It's a light news week.
Hey 20 Percent!
My mother was a religious person and whenever life got to be too much for her, she’d announce: “I’m just going to leave this one to God.” Which meant she was just going to wait and see how it played out.
Although I’m so far from religion I don’t even think about the question, I’ve come to that point with Covid-19. I’m just going to leave it up to the government because I have no idea. Remember when an incidence in the double-digits was terrifying and we had traffic lights (see below) that were supposed to usher in changes in policy? Both are now meaningless and I have no idea if that’s correct.
But how could I? I have a degree in literature and have spent most of my adult life in Berlin where anything but leisure activities will lead to the same level of criticism as crossing against the light in the rest of this country (Want an experience? Try wearing a suit on the Ringbahn).
So I’m just going to leave it up to the government and hope they’re right. I realize some think this means I’m for exposing at-risk populations while others think I’m a fascist for passively allowing mask mandates on public transport but you know what? I’m just going to hope the people who make these decisions know what they’re doing. After all, it’s what they’re paid to do.
I mean, has God ever done an honest day’s work?
Have a good weekend.
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, April 1
Received booster: 59.5% (59.4% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 6,557 (7,329 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,384 (+21 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 915.8 (1,076.5 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 18.4 (19.0 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 8.8% (9.9% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
What are the new corona rules?
Essentially, the only protection left is mandatory masks in public transport (including long-distance trains) and in areas with contact to those at-risk — the doc’s, care homes and hospitals. However, businesses and cultural institutions can require patrons to wear masks — the Deutsche Oper, Staatsoper and the Komische Oper, for example. Yorck movie theaters will also ask patrons to mask up. Major supermarkets, however, have said they’ll go without, as will footballers Union Berlin, who will again have a full stadium as they face 1.FC Köln Friday evening. Schools, too, are doing away with masks and the city’s universities will return to in-person schooling with the summer semester (which starts today). Berlin health minister Ulrike Grote (Die Grüne) wants the restrictions to continue but said her hands are tied because of federal guidelines: Berlin could declare itself a hotspot and reinstate them locally but our incidence is relatively low in comparison to the national average (915.8 vs. 1,586.4) and although hospitals are full, they’re not at their limits.
Wall bike path complete. Finally.
A planned tunnel under new train tracks will connect two sides of a 150-km bike path that follows the former wall around what was West Berlin. For years, cyclists and pedestrians have had to take a bumpy three-kilometer detour in Lichtenrade in southern Berlin because of train tracks but the relentless efforts of former Berlin politician Michael Cramer (Die Grüne) led Deutsche Bahn to agree to the tunnel, according to Tagesspiegel. The state-owned railway will build the tunnel (opening 2025) as part of an ongoing expansion of its lines to Dresden and the new airport. A similar tunnel is already in use in nearby Lichterfelde.
Planes to return to Tempelhof?
Local politicians from the business-friendly FDP have launched a new referendum to re-open Tempelhof airport. The politicians say BER is too far outside the city limits and said the city-state has been lax in creating sufficient infrastructure to get passengers there in a reasonable amount of time. “London still has City Airport and people in Hamburg can practically walk to their airport,” Florian Minder, who heads the Zehlendorf borough council, told Morgenpost. The group suggested limited air traffic, such as private jets and regional airlines, to keep noise down. “If we can’t build housing there, we should at least be able to fly there,” Minder said. To get their referendum on the next ballot, the group must collect 220,401 signatures.
To build or not to build (a highway)
A spat erupted this week between Berlin and the federal government and, in a surprise twist, Berlin is right: The feds Tuesday kicked off the process to extend the A100 ring highway across the Spree up to Storkower Straße. But Berlin would prefer to just put the whole thing on ice because stinky highways are … stinky highways. Local pols only found out about the national government’s plans to push the archaic plans for the roadway from the press. The Autobahn (with a speed limit) currently zooms from Wedding counter-clockwise through western and southern Berlin, ending at about Karl-Marx-Straße in Neukölln. The next section, which takes it northward to Treptower Park, is all but complete (that massive construction site visible from the Ringbahn near the park). The federal government wants the next planning phase to be complete by 2027 with construction soon after. “That’s traffic policy from yesterday,” city traffic boss Bettina Jarasch told Tagesspiegel (Die Grüne) , saying she preferred investment in public transport instead (as do we all).
Flea market kick off
Sorry Mauerpark, the city’s finest flea market is without question Nowkoelln Flowmarkt on Maybachufer — and it opens for the first time this year on Sunday! The info.
Berlin is home to over 110,000 dogs. That stat, the latest available, is from 2020, and doesn’t take into account the full impact of the corona pet boom. Dog owners must pay a €120 annual tax for their first canine, €180 for each additional one. Here’s a link on how to register yours. Cats are tax-free.