3G to 2G: Hamburg venues can allow entry for Covid-vaccinated and recovered people only
Unvaccinated people can soon be excluded from restaurants, cinemas, theatres and events in Hamburg.
German states on Monday moved to a uniform Covid health pass system which allows entry to many public spaces, such as indoor dining, only to people who've been vaccinated (geimpft), have recovered from Covid (gensesen) or have been tested against Covid (getestet). It's known as the 3G model in Germany.
But on Tuesday, Hamburg announced it will introduce a "2G option model" for event organisers and business owners - effectively banning unvaccinated people.
It means venue and event bosses will be allowed to offer their services and allow entry only to people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid within the last six months. Those who are eligible for vaccination but haven't got it will not be allowed to enter.
Businesses have to let the city know if they plan to use the 2G entry system.
The obligation to provide proof also applies to employees working on the premises in question, said the Senate.
Under 2G, businesses will not need the same hygiene regulations. It will allow bosses, for instance, to admit more guests or offer a free choice of seating without mandatory spacing requirements. However, masks will remain compulsory in all indoor settings.
The 2G option will be launched on Saturday. Organisers can also opt for the 3G model - but if they do, they will have to follow previous Covid restrictions, such as caps on the amount of people who can attend.
The 2G or 3G option is aimed at theatres, cinemas, trade fair operators, restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and fitness studios, among other businesses.
Organisers of sporting events with visitors, public festivals or educational courses should also be able to exclude unvaccinated people if they want to, said the Hamburg Senate.
The Senate said operators will face heavy fines if they do not check for proof of vaccination or recovery (or a negative test if it's a 3G event).
Will there be any exceptions?
Special rules will apply to children and young people. All under-18s will be allowed to attend 2G events without full vaccination protection, at least for a grace period.
For 12 to 18-year-olds, who have been urged to get vaccinated, this transitional period will expire in six weeks. For children under 12, for whom no vaccine has been approved, it will continue to apply.
The Local asked the Hamburg Senate if there were exceptions for people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons.
A spokesman told us that the small number of people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons "are generally at high risk of infection and should avoid crowds".
Therefore 2G events are "aimed exclusively at vaccinated and recovered people".
There is also no obligation for businesses to use the option of allowing access only to vaccinated and recovered people.
According to the Senate, providers can decide for themselves whether to use it or to remain open to all under the previous 3G rules.
Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) said the decision was made because there are clear differences in the infection dynamics between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
He said the current Covid fourth wave, unlike the second and third, is a "wave of the unvaccinated".
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said Tuesday that more than 90 percent of Covid patients in intensive care wards had not received their jabs.
Tschentscher also said the 2G option would offer more security to providers and help them plan better.
But the opposition has slammed the move. FDP Hamburg state chairman Michael Kruse said the Senate was creating "first- and second-class citizens".
It comes as the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is set to move away from taking the contact details of customers as part of the new 3G Covid health pass system, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Other German states are also considering a change in strategy as the new entry rules take effect.