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Reader question: Is Germany’s Covid health pass still valid?

Do you have to carry proof of Covid vaccination or recovery when you're in Germany, or travelling? Here's what you need to know.

Germany's version of the EU digital Covid certificate.
Germany's version of the EU digital Covid certificate. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Banneyer

Testing centres, masks and vaccination certificates – these are a few of the things that have become part of everyday life since the pandemic started in 2020.  

But as Germany has phased out most regulations – such as the 3G and 2G rules – many are wondering if they still need to have a record of this information, and if the laws around Covid certificates still exist.

Do I need to have or carry proof of my Covid vaccinations in Germany at the moment?

It’s worth noting that there is no obligation to have proof of your Covid status in Germany. But it is an obligation to show it if you want to access certain facilities if there is a rule in place at the time. 

Under recent rules, for instance, people needed proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative Covid test (the 3G rule) to enter places like restaurants, bars and gyms. And it was even stricter under 2G and 2G-plus rules – unvaccinated people were generally excluded. 

Usually, showing proof involved presenting the CovPass or Covid-Warning app (for proof of vaccination/recovery) on a smartphone or a negative test certificate from a test centre. People also typically had to show photo ID alongside this document. Those without a smartphone could also choose to show a yellow booklet with proof of vaccination in most cases. 

But when the rules are not in place, as is the case currently, there is no need to carry around or have these files.

Will I need my Covid documents in future?

Under the current infection protection laws, which are in place until September 23rd, it is possible for a state to bring in tougher entry restrictions – such as 3G or 2G – if the state parliament declares a Covid hotspot situation. That is very unlikely at the moment after all states relaxed their restrictions.

The EU digital vaccination certificate.

The EU digital vaccination certificate. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

However, the German Health Ministry is currently putting together a plan for winter – and the government is set to extend Covid regulations. That means there is a chance that tougher restrictions will come into force in the colder months. 

KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

For that reason it is best to hold onto your documents. Meanwhile, vaccination apps (and your yellow booklet) are useful to have so you can keep an eye on how many vaccinations you’ve had, and when you had them. The Covid-Warn app is also extremely useful for knowing if you’ve come into contact with someone who has Covid since you receive a red alert. 

Another important point is that you may need to show proof of vaccination/recovery at short notice when travelling. That could be the case if rules change while you’re travelling. 

It may also be needed to travel back into Germany in future, although travel restrictions have been temporarily dropped. 

READ ALSO: The Covid rules that tourists in Germany should know

A spokesman from The Health Ministry told The Local: “It is of course advisable to have a recovery certificate (or, in the case of a vaccination, a vaccination certificate) issued following an infection. However, there is no obligation to do so.

“The certificates can also be issued afterwards, e.g. if someone wants to use them for travelling abroad, and if appropriate rules are applied.”

What else should I know?

From October 1st 2022, people who have not received their Covid booster vaccination (third jab) will be considered unvaccinated. 

This is important to be aware of if rules like 3G or 2G are introduced again and you are trying to gain access to public venues with your health records. 

Check out the article below for more details on the changes. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s planned changes to Covid vaccination status

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Bavaria pushes for stricter Covid regulations in autumn

Health ministers across Germany's 16 states are debating the government's new Covid plan - and politicians in Bavaria say they want more clarity.

Bavaria pushes for stricter Covid regulations in autumn

On Tuesday, federal and state health ministers planned to discuss the Covid protection proposals for autumn and winter presented last week by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP).

However, some states and politicians are not satisfied with the plans. 

Under the proposals, masks will remain mandatory in air and long-distance transport, as well as clinics, nationwide. But federal states will be able to choose themselves whether to introduce further measures like mandatory masks on public and regional transport.

States will also have the power to take tougher Covid measures if the situation calls for it, such as mandatory masks indoors, but lockdowns and school closures have been ruled out. 

READ ALSO Masks and no lockdowns: Germany’s new Covid plan from autumn to Easter

The draft law states that there can be exceptions from wearing masks in indoor spaces, such as restaurants, for recently Covid-vaccinated or recovered people. 

But Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) told DPA that these planned exemptions were not justified because vaccinated and recovered people can still transmit infections. “There are clear gaps in the current draft law,” said the CSU politician.

Dominik Spitzer, health policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bavarian state parliament, also questioned this exception, saying the rules “simply made no sense”.

“With the current virus variant, that would be impossible to convey, since even vaccinated people can continue to carry the virus,” the FDP politician told Bavarian broadcaster BR24. 

The coalition government’s graduated plan under the new Infection Protection Act, is set to be in force from October 1st until April 7th next year. 

The powers for the states are a first step, “but they do not go far enough for us”, Holetschek added, while calling for some points to be tightened up. “We need strong guidelines for autumn and winter.”

Holetschek said the government needed to tighten up the criteria with which states can adopt and enforce more effective measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Could Germany see a ‘patchwork’ of Covid rules?

Meanwhile, CDU health politician Erwin Rüddel said Germany was on the “wrong track” and the country should find “a completely different approach” to Covid policy than it has so far.

He accused the coalition government of being in “panic mode” and said he doubted the Bundestag would pass the proposals.

“I believe, there will be significant changes (to the draft)”, he said.

But the chairperson of the doctors’ association Marburger Bund, Susanne Johna, backed the plans.

“The proposal for the new Infection Protection Act gives the states sufficient possibilities to react adequately to the infection situation,” Johna told the Rheinische Post on Tuesday.

“The states can take regionally adapted measures to protect people if the need arises. I can’t understand why this concept is being called into question right away.”