Berlin allows Christmas markets to exclude unvaccinated people

Christmas Market in Berlin Charlottenburg
Visitors walk in the rain at the Christmas Market on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin Charlottenburg. Photo: picture alliance / Gregor Fischer/dpa | Gregor Fischer
Berlin's Christmas Markets are returning this year after a Covid hiatus in 2020 - but unvaccinated people may find themselves shut out from many of the festivities.

According to reports in regional daily Tagesspiegel, the Berlin Senate agreed on Tuesday that Christmas market organisers will be able to introduce ‘2G’ entry policy when the festive markets return this year on November 22nd.

That means that anyone over-12 would be asked to show proof that they are vaccinated (geimpft) or recovered (genesen) in order to gain entry to some of the markets, while people with a negative test could be turned away.

Since the ‘2G’ model is optional, Christmas market organisers will also be at liberty to choose a more liberal ‘3G’ policy instead, which would allow people with a negative test (getestet) to enjoy the markets as well.

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However, with a more relaxed 3G policy, masks and social distancing will be mandatory – while for the 2G Christmas Markets, neither masks nor distancing will be necessary. 

Popular markets opt for ‘2G’

A number of Berlin’s most popular Christmas Markets have already confirmed that they will opt for the more restricted entry policy. 

For the famous WeihnachtsZauber market at Gendarmenmarkt, for instance, the organisers have made it clear that only vaccinated or recovered people will be able to gain entry.

The only exception to the rule is under-12s, who are currently unable to get vaccinated due to the lack of an approved vaccine. This group can get away with showing a negative Covid test, and children under 6 won’t have to show any proof at all.

READ ALSO: Berlin makes exceptions to ‘vaccinated-only’ rule

Another festive favourite in Berlin Mitte – the Weinachtsmarkt am Roten Rathaus – will also operate a ‘2G’ policy, with the same exceptions for children under 12 and six.

The Christmas Market at Spandau Citadel and two local markets in Marienfelde will also be using ‘2G’.

For the unvaccinated, the Weihnachtsmarkt an der Gedächtnis-Kirche near Zoologischer Garten will be one of the few major Christmas markets to run a ‘3G’ entry policy. 

No market at Schloss Charlottenburg 

Though the majority of Berlin’s markets will be back up and running this year, the Christmas market in front of Schloss Charlottenburg has fallen victim to the state’s Covid regulations.

“Politics has – once again – failed to create clear and real conditions for organisers in time,” organiser Tommy Erbe said in a statement at the beginning of October.

READ ALSO: World-famous Nuremberg Christmas market cancelled over Covid-19 concerns

The primary reason for the cancellation are rules forbidding alcohol in green spaces, which would have meant that mulled wine was forbidden at the Charlottenburg market.

Organisers also cited restrictions on the number of visitors to 2,000 at a time, and the obligation to wear masks at the market as reasons for cancelling the event.

However, the decision was made around three weeks before the Senate announced it would be allowing option 2G and the dispensing of masks at organisers’ discretion.

Member comments

  1. Good Grief. So, no tests, masks, or social distancing and all the while the vaccinated people can still get the illness and pass it along. (I personally know 2 double vaccinated people who have gotten it and died.) If the government were serious about stopping Covid 19, they would require all people, regardless of vaccination status, to take a test before entering events. Period.

    1. Shelley,

      Very sorry about your loss, that’s really awful. But it’s important for everyone to understand that there is no “stopping” COVID-19. It’s here to stay, and constant lockdowns and testing just aren’t feasible as long term solutions. The 3G rules aren’t perfect, but they are a reasonable mitigation strategy. The best we can hope for is that it gets us sooner rather than later to the inevitable outcome of COVID-19 becoming a flu-like disease in the general population.

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