We can’t believe that we are writing this, but after 1,5 years of lockdown, Berlin’s indoor clubs will finally be allowed to re-open without mask requirements and distancing rules. The Berlin Clubcommission announced the news yesterday after the Senat of Berlin lost a court case about it and decided to not challenge it any further. From Friday, September 3rd onwards, clubs will be allowed to re-open their indoor dance floors. Of course, there is a catch because we are still in the middle of a pandemic: Entry will only be allowed to vaccinated and recovered people. Especially since the enforcing of mask rules at outdoor parties has been reportedly causing some friction in the nightlife scene lately, that last bit seems to be a relief for many.
The news is of course welcome, not only for the struggling nightlife makers but also for hungry party-goers that have been starved of their favorite activity. We feel you. But they don’t come without some concerns.
The Clubcommission also announced at the same time, that their proposal to allow indoor parties without masks and distancing with prior PCR testing (that would have been offered for a special price of only 15 EUROS) was denied by the Senate, despite a huge trial with 6 clubs some weeks ago that proved successful. This seems to be a bit of a bitter pill to be honest, because that solution seemed much safer, especially now during a new wave caused by the Delta variant and many documented cases of infection among fully vaccinated people. The first attempt to trail a club reopening with a testing scenario last year was already aborted sometime last year – so the Senat seems to be determined to block any movement here on that front. It seems counter-logical to us to be in the way of safe methods, yet they are now ok with the risk of people getting infected at parties despite being vaccinated and then carrying it around potentially spreading it to others that are not. The fact that rapid testing is considered sufficient to allow entry to indoor areas of gyms, restaurants, and concert halls, yet they are unreliable and not trustworthy for clubs also seems hella shady.
Several other German states had already allowed indoor partying with various requirements or restrictions, such as Saxony, Lower Saxony, Schleswig Hollstein, and NRW. However, some of them have already reversed their decisions due to rising infection numbers. That seems to be a likely scenario to happen in Berlin as well, that’s why it’s a shame the Senat didn’t go with the PCR testing version. I can totally understand how club owners will take this new ruling with caution. So far I have seen few clubs announcing the reopening of their indoor spaces, we’ll keep our eyes out in the next days…