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BERLIN

Berlin makes exceptions to ‘vaccinated-only’ rule

The Berlin Senate has voted in sweeping changes to its Covid rules, including new exceptions that will allow certain groups of unvaccinated people into venues that have opted for a 'vaccinated-only' rule.

A sign informs visitors that they must be vaccinated or recovered to enter
A sign in Dresden informs visitors that they must be vaccinated or recovered to enter. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

From Sunday, October 10th, people who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons will be allowed into so-called ‘2G’ venues, which are usually only open to those who are vaccinated (geimpft) or recovered (genesen).

Like almost all other German states, Berlin allows the owners of bars, restaurants, cinemas and various other indoor venues to operate a strict ‘2G’ entry policy that excludes people who don’t have any immunity from Covid.

Along with the scrapping of free rapid tests on October 11th, the rule is intended to encourage people who are on the fence about getting vaccinated to get their jabs as soon as possible.

That means that those who are unable to get vaccinated – such as young children and people with weak immunity – aren’t intended to be disadvantaged by the rules. 

But although senators made exceptions for unvaccinated minors, state health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) originally said that people who could not get vaccinated for medical reasons would still be unable to access ‘2G’ venues.

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Since vaccinated and recovered people can still carry Covid, these venues pose a particularly high risk of infection to people who may have medical vulnerabilities, she said.

On Tuesday, however, Berlin’s senators voted on a significant U-turn to allow those who are unwillingly unvaccinated into these venues. 

From Sunday, people who can’t get their jabs for medical reasons will have to bring a GP’s letter as evidence that they can’t get vaccinated, along with a negative PCR test, to enter ‘2G’ events and venues. 

However, they will have to pay for the PCR test themselves, the Senate confirmed.  

Expansion of ‘2G’

In addition to carve-outs for groups of unvaccinated people, Berlin also voted on Tuesday to expand the range of places that are allowed to opt for 2G. 

From Sunday, hotels, holiday rentals, museums, galleries, libraries, archives and memorials will join bars, restaurants and cinemas in being able to restrict entry to the vaccinated and recovered. 

Mandatory 2G will remain in place for saunas, steam rooms, brothels and clubs, while non-essential shops will have to stick with ‘3G’, meaning people can enter with a negative test instead of evidence of vaccination or recovery. 

Another major change in recent weeks is that the yellow vaccine booklet is no longer sufficient as proof of vaccination. Instead, people will need their digital health pass on the CovPass app or a printed copy of their personalised vaccine QR code, which can be obtained from a local pharmacy. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany

Member comments

  1. Looks to me like the government is a lot more interested in getting people vaccinated rather than hindering the spread of covid. People who have been vaccinated can spread the disease and yet now tests cost money for everyone. Even my doc can’t believe it.

  2. Looks to me like the government is a lot more interested in getting people vaccinated than hindering the spread of covid. People who have been vaccinated can spread the disease and yet now tests cost money for everyone, including people who medically cannot get vaccinated? Even my doc can’t believe it.

    1. Getting people to vaccinate is the best way we have at the moment to hinder the spread of covid (and it’s also why we are almost back to normal here in Germany). Just compare the latest numbers in countries with very high vaccination rates (Spain, Portugal) to ones with low rates (Romania, Bulgaria).

      As far as I know, tests are still free for people who can’t vaccinate. This article talks about PCR tests for people who want to attend 2G events and can’t get vaccinated. The whole idea is nuts, if your health is so bad that you can’t get the vaccine, some 2G party or indoors concert is the last place you should be in.

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COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

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