• Michali Henig

Berlin and COVID-19: what is still allowed?

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

The city is empty.

This is very, very rare.

Just a couple of months ago I have been walking and riding through the city, thinking to myself that everything is just a little bit too crowded. We need more trains because public transportation is too full. It is difficult to walk down the street because it is too full... My complaints to myself now seem so not important.

On Sunday, both Germany and Berlin made a new decision: KONTAKTVERBOT. This means: the contact between people is now forbidden.

This is counter-intuitive for Germans, who fought for their freedom for a very, very long time, with some of them having to go through two dictatorships. FREIHEIT is a very important value in Germany. In my opinion, this is why it took so long until we got the full blown lock down. At least in comparison to other European countries. For this reason, the first sentence on the German constitution is: "Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar".

However, we are now facing an emergency. One of the biggest emergencies that Germany faced in the 20th (and 21st) century(ies). And this emergency requires us to make unnormal behaviour our normal way of living.

And we get all those new words! "Social-Distancing", "Ausgangsbeschränkung", "Kontaktsverbot"...

The most important thing now is to slow down the virus.

How do we do this, what is still allowed, and how should we behave in public?

There are many rules (welcome to Germany), I summarized the main ones for you.

The first and most important rule is: stay in your apartment. You might have come across the hashtags: #stayathome or #staythefuckhome over social media. It is not as complicated as you think.

Do you need to go to the office? No. No going to the office. How about taking public transportation for shopping? No, no shopping. Apart from the supermarket, pharmacy, DM and stuff like that. No need to go shopping for cloths or something, because everything is closed.

How about going to the park to hang out with friends? No, please dont do this right now. Hopefully this whole thing will be over really soon, you can do it then.

If you ever wonder, what should I do in order to stop the virus/ how does my government want me to behave? The answer is: stay at home. Stay in your apartment. Do not go out.

We will see more police on the streets in the next couple of weeks. They are supposed to check that everyone is keeping the new rules. They might ask to identify you. Please be ready for this occasion in order to avoid unpleasant situations.

If you are an expat, living in Berlin with a residence permit / D-Visa (in case you just moved), please make sure to have your residence permit/ visa with you as well.

Please also remember that those measures are taken in order to protect us during the emergency and will be removed once the emergency is over and the worlds returns to normal.

You may leave the house in order to get stuff you need for daily use, such as: groceries, food, stuff from DM or Rossmann, take away from your favourite restaurant (#supportlocalbusinesses!), etc. You may also leave the house in order to go see the doctor or in order to go to work (if you have a vital job and received a special ticket).

Visiting of spouses, partners, children, sick people or people with disabilities, as well as providing help to people in need, is also allowed, along with attending URGENT appointments at governmental offices and courts.

You may also leave the house in order to walk your dog or for sport-purposes/ getting some fresh air. You may do this either by yourself, with people who live in the same apartment with you (Kernfamilie, for example), or with one other person. Walking around in groups bigger than 2 people is only allowed if everyone live in the same house.

The key to fighting the virus is social distancing. Therefore, people are asked to keep distance from one another, including in supermarkets, shops and on the street.

The good news are, that corona-cases are not growing as much as we expected them to. This is a very good sign, that shows that what we are doing probably helps. Lets not mess this up. Keep the rules. Keep your distance from others. Together we will win over the virus.

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