Germany considers relaxing ‘2G-plus’ test rules for people with booster jabs

Health ministers across Germany are debating whether testing for the vaccinated and recovered (so-called 2G-plus rule) should be waived for people who've had booster shots.

A woman receives a booster vaccination at a club-turned vaccine station in Frankfurt.
A woman receives a booster vaccination at a club-turned vaccine station in Frankfurt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

People in Germany have to be vaccinated (geimpft) or have recovered from Covid (genesen) – the so-called 2G rules – to enter most public places across the country, such as non-essential shops, restaurants and bars. 

But many events – and some businesses – have a 2G-plus system where vaccinated and recovered people also have to show a negative Covid rapid test to enter. 

Now health ministers are to discuss allowing people who’ve been boosted to enter a 2G-plus area without a test. 

The aim is to create an incentive for people in Germany to go out and get their top-up shot to boost immunity. 

In several states, people who’ve had boosters are already exempt from the test obligation for 2G-plus, including in Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Thuringia, Baden-Württemberg and Saarland. 

In Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia, this also applies to people whose second vaccination was less than six months ago.

Ahead of consultations on Tuesday, Germany’s federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach proposed that everyone in Germany who has had boosters should have the testing rules waived for 2G-plus.

Ordering vaccinated people with booster vaccinations to go and get tested doesn’t make medical sense, Lauterbach told ARD.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Covid situation is stabilising, says Health Minister

FDP health expert Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus has a similar opinion. She told DPA: “Of course, even with a third vaccination, one does not have 100 percent protection. But even if a vaccination breakthrough should happen, you are well protected against a severe course (of Covid-19).”

Easing the test requirements could be “an additional incentive for more vaccinations”, she said.

Ute Teichert, chairwoman of the Federal Association of Public Health Service Doctors (BVÖGD), however, warned against easing the requirements for the boosted.

Teichert said this step would be hasty. “It would be wiser to wait and see how the pandemic develops in the coming weeks,” she told the newspapers in the Funke Mediengruppe.

Germany has been significantly stepping up its vaccination and booster campaign due to worries over the more transmissible Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa. 

State by state: Where and how children can get vaccinated in Germany

Green Party health expert Janosch Dahmen urged the government to tighten restrictions to prepare for the variant.

In the Rheinische Post, he called for three new measures: first, a significant shortening of the interval between the last dose and booster vaccination; second, an expiry date for vaccination certificates “to take account of medical findings on the reduction of protection against infection” and third, adapting the travel rules so that entry to Germany from a high-risk area is only possible with a PCR test no more than 24 hours old.

Currently vaccinated and recovered people entering Germany from a high risk area do not need to show a negative test, but unvaccinated people do. However, if coming from a ‘virus variant area of concern’, everyone has to show a negative test regardless of whether they are vaccinated or recovered.

READ ALSO: Is travel to and from Germany possible over Christmas holidays?

Member comments

  1. And now we have the “Boosted” group. It’s hard to keep up. I will not be eligible for a “boost” until February.

    This proposed plan is stupid.

    1. 6 months if you’re getting the booster on base, but only 90 days post second shot if you get the booster on the economy.

  2. I hope so. In RP where I live, it’s 2G+ to go to a restaurant. Obviously, no one wants to eat out bad enough to comply with this. We’ll just order to go. The restaurants are losing money again.

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

With the EU changing its Covid recommendations for flights, there is some confusion around whether people boarding a plane in Germany will still need to wear a mask. Here's what we know so far.

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

As of Monday, the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC no longer recommend mandatory Covid masks in airports and on planes.

However, if masks are compulsory at the point of departure or destination, this should continue to apply in aircraft as well, they say.

So, what does this mean for passengers boarding flights in Germany? At the moment, not very much at all. 

In Germany, the Infection Protection Act still stipulates that masks have to be worn on long-distance trains and planes. Masks are also compulsory on local public transport.

The previous weeks have seen Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) come out in favour of scrapping compulsory masks – especially on flights.

But so far, nothing concrete has been done to change the Infection Protection Act, which is due to expire on September 23rd. 

READ ALSO: German politicians row over lifting mandatory Covid mask rule

What are the current rules on flights? 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, masks are compulsory on all flights taking off or landing in Germany.

FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight, though they can be removed when eating and drinking.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement. 

The ministry has argued that the obligation to wear masks also complies with the new EU recommendations. 

What are the rules acros the EU? 

In general, the relaxed EU recommendation does not mean that masks are no longer compulsory on all flights. However, many countries have kept this measure in place as a simple way to reduce infection. 

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, published a list of 14 EU countries in which national laws continue to require the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid.

Besides Germany, popular tourist destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are included on the list. 

In other EU countries, the airline said it would be dropping mandatory masks on flights, adding that it “welcomed” the relaxed recommendations from the EU health authorities.  

READ ALSO: Will Germany soon get rid of mandatory face masks on public transport?