Berlin - Politicians Tuesday agreed to ease a raft of corona restrictions beginning 4 and 11 June as the number of corona infections plummets.

Starting Friday, bars and restaurants can again serve indoors, as long as patrons have a current-day negative test, are fully vaccinated or are recently recovered, and guests outside will no longer require a test, economics minister Ramona Pop (Die Grüne) said Tuesday. Gyms can also re-open Friday and shoppers no longer need tests to enter stores, though they will have to provide contact information for tracing if a recent visitor proves to have had the disease.

"These are big steps we're taking," Pop said. She still advised people to be cautious "so we don't put the freedoms we're gaining back at risk."

On 11 June, tourists will again be allowed in hotels - provided testing and hygiene rules are followed - with no restrictions on occupancy (a draft paper had called for limiting hotel occupancy to 50 per cent). The same will be true in Brandenburg, the region that envelops Berlin, because both states are attempting to keep regulations similar to prevent corona tourism.

Parties possible again

Klaus Lederer (Die Linke), the city's head culture official, said he is looking forward to the summer "with joy". Starting this Friday, indoor events with up to 100 people can be held again with an appropriate hygiene concept that includes distancing and masks.

With mechanical ventilation, gathering of up to 500 people indoors are possible, the same number of people allowed at open-air events such as film screenings or concerts.

Universities can also begin offering in-person events, mayor Michael Müller (SPD) announced .

"This is of course combined with distance and hygiene rules and on-site tests," he said. Students have been stuck in online classes and have seen little relief since the start of the pandemic.

"We've made great strides with vaccinations as well," Mueller said. "We haven't beaten the pandemic yet." 

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