About two weeks ago, for the first time in a year and a half, people were celebrating in several clubs in Berlin as before the outbreak of the corona plague – without masks, without social distance and without the police coming and dispersing the forbidden gatherings. It was a one-off weekend: the parties were defined as a “pilot”, an attempt to convey to the world that the club culture that made Berlin famous did not die with the plague, and to allow some hope for those who were used to spending weekends in the city’s many clubs.
The instructions were clear: about 2,100 celebrants, sound and production personnel were allowed to participate in the experiment. Anyone who wanted to get on the pre-determined list of clubs was tested by PCR a few hours before the parties. Seven people previously detected by these tests were notified that they must be in isolation. In recent days, about 1,500 people out of 2,100 undergoing additional PCR tests have been re-examined – and no positive cases have been found. However, about 600 people were not tested.
The “pilot” was carried out at six prestigious clubs in Berlin, including the Kit-Kat, where non-maintenance of social distance is one of the main attractions, and has in the past year turned from a bustling club queuing for taxis to a corona checkpoint. The 2,000 tickets for the weekend at the six clubs were sold out ahead of time within minutes. As mentioned, anyone who had a ticket in advance had to be tested in a preliminary PCR test.
Large queues dragged on from the early evening hours at the entrance to the Kit-Kat and the nearby 36 SO club in Kreuzberg, as the passers-by were checked in at one of the many test centers operating near the clubs themselves. After that, they waited for long hours – between two and five hours according to reports – to get the long-awaited entry ticket for those who were negative to Corona.
While in line everyone was forced to wear masks, inside the clubs themselves the rules were suspended – no masks needed, even in places where hundreds of people were crammed into small enclosed spaces. The “pilot” was carried out on Friday and Saturday nights last weekend, with the support of the municipality, and was called Reboot Clubculture – a reboot of the club culture.
“A positive sign for the future of clubs”
Seemingly, the results are encouraging. Berlin’s head of culture, Klaus Lederer, said today (Tuesday) that the fact that none of those re-examined (although only some of the spenders were infected) was a “positive sign of the clubs’ future, and the possibility of their normalization”. However, the cost of PCR tests in Germany is relatively high – between 60 and 90 euros for a single test that gives results within a 24-hour period, so it is difficult to imagine how the model applied will become a permanent mode of operation. In addition, the fact that not all the partygoers who celebrated were tested still casts doubt on the possibility that there was no case of infection.
Currently, clubs in Berlin can hold parties in the open air, under Corona restrictions. The city hosts many illegal parties in abandoned spaces. A representative of the clubs in the city, said that the experiment “offers a possible and safe model if the morbidity in Berlin will increase this autumn”.