NEWS 18.05.2020

Berlin and Germany

continue to

slowly open up.

Eating out:

Since May 15th, restaurants, fast-food and cafes are allowed to open again from morning until 10 PM. Strong regulations still apply concerning hygiene measures and distancing. All personnel must wear protective masks and the distance of 1.5 meters from table to table must be observed. No buffets or self-service is allowed. Restaurants are asked to keep a record of their customers, so it can happen that they will ask your name and phone number. This is a measure to have a possibility to quickly access all customers in case of a Corona case in that establishment.
Owners speak of a slow normalization, as customers are only slowly returning to go out. Accordingly, although most restaurants have reduced their seating capacity by 50%, you will find a place almost everywhere. But, expect that to change in the coming months, when people start going out again. In the future, you will probably have to reserve a seat in your favorite spot.

Tourism & Hotels:

Hotels and tourist flats as Airbnb will be allowed to open the 25th of May. This also applies to sightseeing tours by foot, bike, bus or boat. But, as everywhere, specific measures for safety and hygiene will have to be observed, which will reduce the number of places on sightseeing tours. As in restaurants, no buffets or self-service is allowed. Berlin is late to open, as other German regions are already allowing them to open. Depending on where you are in Germany, additional measures might apply, for example, in Sachsen, the menus have to washable and in Brandenburg you are obliged to disinfect your hands before entering.
Hotels and flats in tourist regions are already almost completely sold out. Owners and landlords report that the demand is way above capacity. It is almost impossible to find any free rooms anymore. But, this does not apply to Berlin yet, as foreign tourists are not yet allowed to come to Germany.

Tourism:

The Foreign Ministry is giving more and more signals that some sort of tourism will be possible this summer. After the 14th of June the borders will be open again. The exceptions are: Netherlands is already open, as the borders never closed. Luxemburg is open already and the east European Countries have decided to keep their borders closed “for now”.
Bilateral talks with Greece, Italy, Austria and Turkey are already underway. Spain is still stalling, while Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and the Canary Islands are pushing for opening the borders. Germany will cancel the 2-week quarantine after returning from abroad, if you stayed in Europe. “Open boarders” are expected somewhere around the beginning of July.

Situation in Berlin:

The good news is, that the infection numbers in Berlin and most parts of Germany are relatively stable. Only some regions have some additional cases. At the moment, new infection hotspots have appeared in companies that work with meat, “Zerlegebetriebe”. The reason is, that most of the low-income employees come from East-Europe and live in dorms with multiple beds in small rooms. One company alone had 92 new infected. For that reason, more and more companies have to shut down, which will have an effect on the availability of meat in the near future.

sources: bz-berlin.de and tagesschau.de