Berlin plans to ban the unvaccinated from restaurants, bars and culture

The city government in Germany’s capital has decided to bring in '2G rules' that will bar unvaccinated people from gastronomy and other indoor areas of public life, according to media reports.

Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller.
Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller. Photo: Christoph Soeder/dpa

The plans were drawn up at a meeting of the city senate on Monday night after Berlin has seen new cases of infection with coronavirus double in the past three weeks.

“2G is being prepared,” city health senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD) confirmed to the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

According to broadcaster RBB, the senate is planning to bring in rules requiring establishments in the gastronomy sector and cultural venues to only allow entry to the vaccinated (geimpft) and those who have recovered (genesen).

The rules will not apply to public transport, supermarkets or other shops necessary for daily life.

The city is reportedly also considering bringing in 2G-plus, a rule that will require vaccinated and recovered people to also provide a negative test. This is only likely to be brought in if cases continue to rise.

Berlin currently gives venues the option of whether to enforce 2G or the more broad 3G, which allows unvaccinated people with a negative test to enter. Venues with 2G rules do not have to enforce mask wearing rules.

The 7-day incidence of infections in Berlin currently stands at 195 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In the districts of Neukölln, Mitte and Spandau the 7-day incidence is over 200.

According to the senate, over 11 percent of the city intensive care capacity is currently taken up by Covid patients.

READ MORE: Germany eyes tougher Covid restrictions as infection rate soars

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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