Berlin to exclude unvaccinated people from indoor dining, bars and hairdressers

Germany's capital Berlin will tighten Covid rules by denying unvaccinated people access to many indoor public places like restaurants, bars, gyms and hairdressers in an effort to contain a coronavirus resurgence.

A bar with '2G' rules, which excludes the unvaccinated from entry, in Berlin.
A bar with '2G' rules, which excludes the unvaccinated from entry, in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

Under new rules in the city-state set to come into force on Monday, only fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 will be able to enter leisure facilities and a list of other selected venues – a system known as “2G” in Germany.

The move comes in response to “the rising number of coronavirus cases and the increasing pressure on intensive care units”, the Berlin senate said in a
press release on Wednesday evening.

Theatres, museums and outdoor events with more than 2,000 visitors such as football games will all be off-limits to unvaccinated adults.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, says German virologist 

Minors and people who can’t get jabbed for health reasons will not be affected by the new restrictions, for them a negative test will suffice.

Up to now, Berlin has given private businesses the option to have 2G rather than 3G rules. 3G means people can enter a premise with proof of vaccination (geimpft), recovery from Covid (genesen) or a negative test (getestet).

Companies in the capital are encouraged to ask employees to work from home more, and to limit office attendance to 50 percent of staff.

The measures agreed by the Berlin senate are among the toughest yet in Germany, which in recent days has repeatedly shattered its record for new daily coronavirus infections.

The country added almost 40,000 cases on Wednesday, an all-time high, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

The surge has been blamed on Germany’s relatively low vaccination rate, with just over 67 percent of the population fully inoculated.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Germans reluctant to get vaccinated?

Some hospitals have started postponing non-urgent surgeries again to care for a rapidly growing number of coronavirus patients.

 ‘The virus doesn’t care’ 

Under Germany’s federal system, its 16 regional states have significant powers to shape their own coronavirus approaches, at times leading to a confusing patchwork of rules across the country.

The hard-hit eastern state of Saxony introduced stricter “2G” measures at the start of the week, while other states including Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are also introducing tougher curbs on the unvaccinated.

The worsening pandemic comes with Germany in political limbo after a September general election.

The winning Social Democrats are in talks to form a new coalition government by early December with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as chancellor.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, who remains in office for now, called for an urgent meeting between the federal government and regional leaders to agree coordinated measures.

“The virus doesn’t care that we have a caretaker government or that we’re in the middle of coalition negotiations,” she told a press conference.

Germany’s current vaccination rate “is sadly not high enough to prevent a rapid spreading of the virus”, she warned.

READ ALSO: Germany to bring back free Covid tests

Member comments

  1. This means less than nothing since most places don’t check. DW did an investigation and only one place of 14 actually asked for proof. There must be fines for businesses that don’t comply.

    1. Hi there, yes very good point. We wrote about this issue, comparing Germany to France which seems to have a much smoother and enforced health pass system. Will get more info on Berlin in the coming days.

      1. In Germany, nobody I have encountered – not even border agents – has ever used the EU-DCC as it is intended, i.e. by verifying the QR code using one of the verification apps. Southern Europe is better in my (more limited) experience there.

    2. Yep, and even if they do ask, the staff have suddenly developed a very impressive ability to read QR codes and verify electronic signatures with just their eyes. As Rachel says, it’s very different in France where they actually mostly scan with the verification app in my experience.

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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.