District mayors have been asked to scour their areas for parks, streets and sports halls that could be transformed into legal outdoor rave venues.
Likely in response to the influx in illegal open-air parties thrown this summer, Berlin's local government is hunting for appropriate green spaces to host the city's "culture-hungry guests" under more hygienic conditions. The decision is also thought to be informed by increasing pressure from the city's clubs, who, despite a recent €30 million aid package for cultural venues which the government has committed to doubling over the next two months, are struggling without steady revenue.
"Berlin misses its diverse club scene. Clubs and bars are suffering economically during the corona crisis," the city's economics minister Ramona Pop told the Berliner Morgenpost. "We want to create legal opportunities to party in public areas for the clubs and Berliners."
The parties will be organized "professionally and in compliance with rules" by clubs who in turn have the chance to turn a profit after weeks of closure. Officials hope by providing more sanitary alternatives like this, they'll dissuade partygoers from attending mask-free park raves where the risk for COVID-19 infection is high, and subsequent clusters are hard to trace.
Pop kicked off the effort last month by sending letters to each of Berlin's 12 district mayors asking that they begin their search, suggesting everything from parks to streets and sports halls.
Today, Thursday, August 27th, the German senate announced new nationwide restrictions after a recent spike in cases. The ban on large-scale events is extended from the end of October through to the end of the year. Fines will be handed out to those not wearing masks in places where it is required to do so. Private parties are now limited to 25 people and 50 people for parties open to the public, though the latter restriction has only been suggested by the federal government and still needs to be accepted by the individual German states. The Berlin senate is currently meeting in a special session to decide on updated city-wide restrictions.
Read Jean-Hugues Kabuiku's review of last weekend's Else Open Air event in Berlin.
Photo credit: AFP