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Radio Spaetkauf Berlin

Sep 3, 2020

Maisie mingles mit medical misbelievers and miscellaneous misinformed masses. Brace yourself - winter markets may be cancelled. Plus Berlin’s building and housing senator has been forced to resign… what does this mean for the rent freeze?

Berlin’s population has fallen for the first time in almost two decades. There are 3.7 million residents registered here. But 7000 moved away since the start of the year. The reason is because of fewer foreigners coming here - only 1000 moved here since the start of the year. Meanwhile 8000 Germans moved away. 

Köpenick is the new “Hasenhain”. That’s Joel’s clever new portmanteau. Police have been shutting down illegal parties in the woods around Köpenick, in Berlin’s east. The latest had 150 people. It was discovered by a police helicopter scoping out the woods.

Friedrichstraße has begun an experiment in car-free living. It has already met with typical resistance but also some success. Will it be given enough time to see the positive effects that bike and pedestrian friendly streets can have on a neighborhood? Plus we discuss the possibility that coronavirus regulations may affect this year’s winter markets.

The recent demonstration against mask regulations and other restrictions related to the pandemic drew a reported 38,000 people including Reichsflag waving “nationalists”, Qanon aligned conspiracy devotees and a menagerie of other groups connected by Querdenken 711. A group of protestors bum-rushed the Reichstag overwhelming the few police stationed in front of it. Maisie tells us what she saw during and after the demonstration. The immediate result of the demonstration is new rules requiring the use of masks during protests of over 100 people. The next Anti-Corona-Rules demo will not take place in Berlin but will instead be moved to Konstanz at the southern border of Germany. 

Numbers in August have been higher than in July with Tuesday seeing 81 new cases. The reproduction number rising 1.14, means that one of the three Corona traffic lights is now yellow. But Berlin hospitalization numbers remain low with 32 people currently being treated, 12 of which are in intensive care.

A few new pandemic related regulations have been put in place: Private gatherings of up to 50 people will have to have a hygiene concept and collect attendee names. Restaurants have to follow slightly stricter rules too, with the requirement for  customer data collection now including those at outdoor seating. A new nationwide rule allows authorities to charge fines of up to €50 for not wearing masks. 

The BVG has reported that 80,000 people have been reprimanded for not wearing masks since July. 470 people have been fined. 223 people claimed they had an exemption from the law. A study by Technisches Univesität has found that wearing a simple fabric mask on public transport can reduce infection risk by up to 50%. They said U-Bahn windows should be open to maximize airflow.

Mohrenstraße will finally be renamed Anton-Wilhelm Amo Straße. After years of petitions and renewed protests since the murder of George Floyd the Mitte Bezirks parliament has finally voted to go ahead with the name change. Anton Wilhelm Amo was an 18th century African born German philosopher.

An update on the corona-zuschuss, the money paid to freelancers and small businesses at the start of the lockdown in April. After a few technical hiccups, the system worked quickly to dispense €1.8 billion euros to over 200,000 recipients. All they had to do was put in a bank number and tax number and click a few boxes. Since then, around 2200 cases of fraud have been opened. An additional 10% of recipients also paid the money back after getting it. In a sign of economic recovery Berlin’s unemployment rate has decreased for the first time since the lockdown; albeit by only 1002 people.

Berlin’s government has seen a few shake ups in recent weeks including the resignation of Katrin Lompscher, and announcements by Health Minister Dilke Kalayci and Education senator Sandra Scheeres that they will not be seeking reelection. Mayor Michael Müller is seeking a seat in the Bundestag but SPD rival Kevin Kuhnert stands in his way.

In other news, Berlin is getting a new museum. The Exilmuseum - dedicated to people who have fled their countries of origin. It’s going to be built behind Anhalter Bahnhof. The old facade of the train station will remain as is. Behind it, a big curved building will be constructed for the museum. 

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Daniel Stern and Jöran Mandik.

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