#87: €3 corona tests, dog register, Lieferando summer party
Plus people are still buying monthly BVG passes
Hey 20 Percent!
For some time now I’ve been trying to force Germany’s digital hand. Any time I have to get something official done, I first try to solve it via email. I send off PDFs and write official greetings and mention that I prefer to communicate digitally and then just wait to see what happens. Like when you accidentally bump into a gigantic dude in a club.
The Ausländerbehörde recently surprised me by responding to my email with an appointment (in September) and telling me that I couldn’t renew my residency permit online. But I’m also in this thing called the Künstlersozialkasse for creative freelancers and while they ostensibly exist to ensure I have health insurance as well as a pension, I’m beginning to think they’re actually a branch of the post office — I’m regularly deluged with their correspondence and they refuse most (if not all) of my email attempts. With a letter, of course.
It feels like we’re entering what us journalists call the Sommerloch — a hole in time where little news appears — while at the same time corona news appears to be making a resurgence. Either way, we’re here for you.
Have a good weekend,
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, July 1
Received booster: 62.6% (62.5% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 4,782 (4,181 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,647 (+7 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 472.6 (430.5 Tuesday)
🟡 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 7.9 (7.1 Tuesday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 4.1% (3.4% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Corona tests now cost €3
Getting a quick corona test at a center now costs €3 and you have to sign a form saying you need it — either because of a pending event, family gathering or due to contact with an infected person. Getting a red warning on your corona app also allows you to get tested. The government is tired of shelling out €1 billion per month for strangers to stick swabs in our nostrils, though the tests will remain free for those at-risk as well as people needing to prove they have recovered from an infection. The tests are now also part of a battle between the government and an association of doctors that pays the test centers on behalf of the government — the association’s board told tabloid Bild that there’s little epidemiological logic in testing healthy people and criticized the system as a costly, bureaucratic nightmare.
Lieferando summer party not for all employees
Why is it so difficult for Berlin delivery companies to treat their riders like, well, humans? In the latest unnecessary slight, Lieferando reportedly invited all of its Berlin office workers to a pool party Friday at Haubentaucher — and explicitly uninvited riders and temporary workers. The dis has gotten widespread media coverage, which would spark most companies who appreciate those doing the actual thing the company is selling (food delivery) to change their minds and then invite the riders but — no. The riders are protesting the event at 5pm. It’s almost like deliveries are just a sideline for these companies — not doing the right thing is actually their specialty.
Own a dog? You’re supposed to register it … again
Only about one-fourth of furry, four-legged Berliners have been signed up for the city’s new dog register and owners of unregistered dogs could now face fines up to €10,000, according to RBB24. The new register is supposed to make it easier for the city-state to reunite strays with their owners and ensure canine infrastructure (dog parks) is available wherever the dogs are. But dog owners already have to pay an annual €120 tax for their first dog and €180 for subsequent animals, sparking criticism of the new register. Data privacy laws — DATENSCHUTZ — prevent the city-state from accessing the tax records, leading to the new list. RBB24 said Berlin will only check to see if dogs are registered if they’re checked for other reasons (like biting someone). Registering a dog costs €17.50 online here.
About 5,000 people have purchased a full-price monthly ticket for June from BVG, according to T-Online. Monthly tickets can cost up to €109. BVG said it was too difficult to halt the sale of regular tickets and instead attempts to tell riders they should just buy the subsidized €9 ticket instead.