The port city’s controversial decision to allow event organizers to only allow in people who have been vaccinated or recovered from a coronavirus infection came into force on Saturday.
Hamburg is the only German state to have created a so-called ‘2G’ rule – meaning entry for Geimpfte (vaccinated), Genesene (recovered) – as opposed to the standard 3G model, which includes entrance for people who can show a negative test (Getestete).
Event locations which register with the city as 2G locations can impose much looser restrictions, which allows bars with dancefloors to let in up to 150 people. They also no longer need to close at 11pm, meaning Hamburg’s endless nights can restart again.
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The concept has faced criticism though due to the fact that it excludes people who have either chosen not to be vaccinated or have not been able to receive a vaccination due to health concerns.
According to public broadcaster NDR, some bars on the Reeperbahn already made use of the new rules at the stroke of midnight from on Saturday. Within hours though police had closed one club on the Große Freiheit and a bar in the vicinity down due to the fact that people were found inside who could not prove vaccination or recovery from the virus.
Some of the pubs were packed like in the days before the pandemic, the broadcaster reports.
Close to 300 venues have already registered for the 2G rules.
Some venues haven’t yet made use of the rules but intend to.
“Most of my guests have been vaccinated and are just waiting to be able to sit inside again,” Andreas Neumann, manager of Hardy’s bar told DPA.
Neumann intends to switch to 2G from October, when all his employees have been vaccinated. He says he will then be able to seat more than double as many people inside for football matches.
Content with 3G
Not everyone plans to implement the 2G rules though.
Celebrity chef Tim Mälzer, who owns the Bullerei restaurant near the Sternschanze, has said that he will keep offering entry to people who have a negative test result.
“The unvaccinated, those not yet completely vaccinated, pregnant women, some people with allergies and others would be denied entry” under the 2G model, Mälzer wrote on Facebook, adding that “we look forward to seeing you all!”
Mälzer said that the 3G system had worked well for his restaurant and that there had not been any cases of infection reported.
More states to follow?
While Hamburg is the first state to introduce the 2G rule, it may not be the last.
On Sunday, Bild am Sonntag reported that the southwestern state of Baden-Württemburg was also considering permitting entry to certain venues only for those who can prove that they’ve been vaccinated against or recovered from Covid.