🚥 First, the official corona stats for Berlin (tallied Thursday, 15 October)
🟢 R number: 0.94 (0.92 Wednesday)
🔴 New infections per week: 78.3 / 100,000 inhabitants (76.3 Wednesday)
🟢 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 4.6 per cent (4.5 per cent Wendesday)
Total number of corona deaths: 238 (+2 since Wednesday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Bar curfew overturned - cash for bars?
Friday morning a Berlin court ruled that the 11pm mandatory closing hours for bars and restaurants was illegal. The city government is appealing the decision. Read the full story here.
That said, on Thursday the Senat announced that struggling bars will be allowed to apply for an emergency financial shot in the arm. Economy minister Ramona Pop (Grüne) said bar owners who previously earned most of their revenue late at night will be able to apply for a one-time payment of "up to €3,000" via the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB). Finance minister Matthias Kollatz (SPD) promised a simple application process that "would not require the help of a tax accountant." The online application does not appear to be live yet. And maybe the whole thing will be cancelled anyway, thanks to Friday's court ruling. We'll keep you posted.
Record new infections Germany-wide
The Robert Koch Institute said Friday morning that a record 7,334 new infections had been reported by health authorities across the country. That broke the previous day's record of 6,638. In the words of Angela Merkel's chief of staff Helge Braun, speaking on TV this morning: "Germany is at the beginning of a really big second wave." Ouch.
New mask rules week?
With Neukölln now officially the worst corona hotspot in the country and other districts not far behind, Mayor Michael Müller seems to be scrambling for new solutions. Sources within the Senat say stricter mask rules could be coming when the city government meets next Tuesday. This could mean, for example, that masks would be required in busy outdoor areas such as popular shopping streets.
In case you missed it...
Berlin wants it all: a booming economy and a thriving alternative scene. Maintaining a balance is almost impossible. Read our editorial on the city's "painful squat house dilemma."
That's all for now folks. Have a healthy Thursday!
The Berliner Zeitung English team