Are people actually following Berlin's mask rules?

Masks have to be worn in more than 30 areas in Berlin – but not everyone's paying attention. Our journalists share their experiences.

Friedrichstraße in Mitte is one of the streets included on the compulsory mask list – but is the rule this effective everywhere?
Friedrichstraße in Mitte is one of the streets included on the compulsory mask list – but is the rule this effective everywhere?Benjamin Pritzkuleit

Berlin-For almost three weeks, some of Berlin's busiest streets and public squares have been subject to a government ruling making it mask-wearing compulsory. It's part of efforts to curb the pandemic – but the message doesn't seem to be getting through everywhere. 

In some areas, the ruling seems hard to enforce – and there are places where it doesn't apply but looks like it probably should. Three Berliner Zeitung journalists share their observations from around the city:

Out of control in Kreuzberg: I was in the supermarket in the middle of Bergmannstraße. After I left, I walked down the popular Kreuzberg shopping street towards the Marheinekehalle. Bergmannstraße certainly isn't as busy as on other days before the pandemic, I thought. I noticed many people were now wearing masks outdoors, but others weren't. But hang on... isn't Bergmannstraße one of the streets with compulsory masks? Just a few weeks ago, the police were here checking for compliance with the rule, even for cyclists. And now? Nothing! I reached the Marheinekehalle without a mask, unchecked and undisturbed – just like many other passers-by. Inside the hall, everyone there was wearing a face covering, without having to be reminded. Marcus Weingärtner

Checkmate on Schloßstraße: It was last Sunday, at about 6.45pm. I was taking a walk on Schloßstraße in Steglitz. At Hermann-Ehlers-Platz there was a police car, and the officers were checking passers-by to see if they were wearing their masks correctly. They approached people who didn't have a mask, or had only covered their mouths. I saw them stop a man and take down his personal details. Apart from that, there wasn't much going on on the otherwise busy shopping street, since the shops were all closed. Only a few restaurants were offering food and drink to go. The prescribed minimum social distancing could easily be maintained. It probably wasn't obvious to everyone why these rules were needed. Kerstin Hense

Rushhour in the park: Grunewald, Charlottenburg, last Sunday afternoon. There was a dense crowd on the path around the Grunewaldsee lake. Young parents pushing their prams through the undergrowth; dogs running around off the lead; couples walking hand in hand; joggers trying to find their way through the crowd. 1.50 metres distancing? Almost impossible in many places. Where there were puddles or mud blocking the way, people squeezed past each other on footpaths that are only just wide enough to walk on. Masks? Hardly anyone is wearing one. And another thing that's missing: police kindly reminding people to keep their distance. Uli Paul