Shoppers to swamp East Berlin
Thousands to shop over Thanksgiving holiday break
American holiday shoppers heading to East Berlin are expected to top 2,000 on Nov. 27, according to a PMO spokesman.
“We expect extremely heavy traffic the weekend of Thanksgiving,” said Berlin Access NCOIC, SSgt. Michael Yount.
Checkpoint Charlie, the only authorized access point for Americans crossing to East Berlin, usually handles 450 travelers on an average day and 800 on a busy Saturday, is expecting a flood of close to 3,000 Americans from Berlin and the West over the holiday weekend.
Last year, PMO officials handled 1,670 travelers the day after Thanksgiving. Yount described the annual backlog that goes along with people making holiday East excursions as unavoidable. But some steps can be taken to avoid unnecessary hassles.
Preprocessing is the key, he said.
Units have been asked to hand out East paperwork early, and military police will be conducting preprocessing 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Wednesday at the Information Center, Truman Plaza.
The East briefing will be given to preprocessors so they’ll not have to go through it the day they travel through the checkpoint.
“It’ll take 30 seconds to get through once they reach the MP’s shack,” Yount said.
Berlin-based personnel who’ve not processed will process at the American break room in the parking lot located at Checkpoint Charlie.
“You’re going to be standing in line somewhere, we just want to make sure you’re standing in the right line,” he said.
East travelers can expect a delay because of the heavy traffic processing through the checkpoint, he said.