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Supermarkets in German state of Hesse can now block entry to the unvaccinated

Supermarkets in Frankfurt and the surrounding region can now implement rules that only allow vaccinated and Covid-recovered people onto their premises.

A food market in Frankfurt.
A food market in Frankfurt. Photo: dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The new Covid health pass entry rules announced by the central state of Hesse have upped the pressure on the unvaccinated by allowing all shops to implement the so-called 2G rule at their doors.

The 2G rule refers to public places being given the option to allow entry only to vaccinated (geimpft in German) or people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen). and has so far been allowed in half of Germany’s states for certain public places like bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cinemas.

The government in Hesse said that it had taken the decision to go a step further and allow shops to bar entry to the unvaccinated “at the request of the sector”.

Implementing 2G rules allows shops to drop mask-wearing and social distancing rules.

“We expect that this option will only be used on some days and that businesses which cater to everyday needs will not make use of it,” state leader Volker Bouffier said on Tuesday.

The decision comes after a Frankfurt court ruled in favour of a barbecue utensil store which had launched a legal objection to the fact that it could not implement 2G rules on its premises.

The court said in its ruling earlier in October that it had “considerable legal reservations about the exclusion of sales outlets and similar establishments from the so-called 2G rule”.

READ MORE: Should retailers in Germany be allowed to exclude unvaccinated people from entry?

2G has proved controversial, with many people complaining that it excludes people who can’t vaccinated and that it has the potential to widen societal divisions over the pandemic response.

Many locations in the hospitality and entertainment sector have stuck to a 3G rule, which allows people to enter if they can show a negative Covid-19 test.

Throughout the pandemic, German authorities have excluded supermarkets and other grocers from most restrictions, such as lockdowns and entry rules, in order to ensure that everyone has continued access to essential goods.

With several million German adults still to be vaccinated as the winter draws near, authorities have sought to up the pressure on them by making access to some parts of public life more difficult or costly.

Eight federal states have allowed businesses and event organisers to adopt the so-called 2G option – that is to allow entry only to the vaccinated (geimpft) and people who’ve recovered from Covid-19 (genesen) – and not unvaccinated people who’ve tested (getestet) negatively for Covid.

Nationwide, the negative lateral flow test that is necessary to be allowed entry as an unvaccinated person is no longer free. The government has said that this decision was taken in order to reduce the tax burden of pandemic measures.

The Local approached the Hesse government for comment.

READ ALSO: Who can still get free Covid tests in Germany?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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