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.

3G to 2G: Hamburg venues can allow entry for Covid-vaccinated and recovered people only
Hamburg is to allow the '2G' model, which bans unvaccinated people from entry to some spaces. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz

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. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s 16 states bring in uniform Covid-19 rules

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”.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Germany’s new ‘3G’ Covid health pass rules

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. 

Member comments

  1. Wont be visiting Fascist Hamburg anytime soon .Irony is the non vaccinated are being tested constantly so in theory it is probably more safe to be around them. Us and them. Them and us. How are we allowing this?

  2. The rules should be all 3G. I concur with careyjg, testing is very possibly better. Restrictions should be about reducing the likelyhood of someone being contagious and spreading the virus. It appears a person who is vaccinated or has recovered, may still get CoVid and not show symptoms. They could unknowningly be spreading the virus while a person who is tested is most likely to be safer to be around. Except for those who are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons, I don’t understand people who don’t get vaccinated – especially now.

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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.