3G rule comes into force across Germany: What you need to know

3G rule comes into force across Germany: What you need to know

It’s been in force for some time in some federal states, but as of Monday, August 23, the so-called “3G rule” is set to be enforced nationwide in Germany. We take a look at what the rule means, who is affected, and whether there are any exceptions. 

What is Germany’s new 3G rule?

It is now mandatory nationwide: anyone who wants to enter certain public spaces must be vaccinated, recovered or tested. This was decided at the last coronavirus summit on August 10, after which the federal states were given some time to implement the new rules. 

The so-called “3G rule” (that is, public spaces are only open to those that are vaccinated, recovered, or tested - geimpft, genesen, getestet) applies to visits to: 

  • Restaurants, bars, pubs
  • Nightclubs, discos
  • Cinemas, theatres, opera houses
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo studios
  • Gyms, swimming pools, sports halls
  • Zoos, amusement parks
  • Casinos
  • Events, sporting events and concerts
  • Driving schools
  • Air travel 
  • Hospitals, nursing homes (for visitors only)

This is not an exhaustive list. Additionally, private business owners or event organisers are also free to impose the 3G rule as they see fit. 

The rule does not apply in the following spaces: 

Because the federal states are free to decide how to implement the rule, there is some variety across Germany: in Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, for instance, the rule applies regardless of the seven-day incidence rate. In Brandenburg, it applies whenever the incidence rate exceeds 20, and elsewhere it comes into force above an incidence rate of 35. 

How can I prove I am vaccinated?

If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, you can prove your status by presenting your yellow vaccination booklet, or your digital vaccination certificate, which you can display on your smartphone. If you haven’t yet received your digital certificate, speak to your doctor or a pharmacy

How can I prove I have recovered from COVID-19?

If you’ve recovered from coronavirus, you can present your positive test result as proof. The test result is valid from 11 to 180 days after you tested positive. You can also download your positive test result onto either the Corona-Warn-App or the CovPass app to receive a digital certificate. 

What kinds of tests are accepted?

If you are neither vaccinated nor recovered, you will need to present a negative test result. You can present a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours old, or a negative rapid antigen test that is a maximum of 24 hours old. 

As of October 11, the state will no longer cover the cost of rapid tests, meaning unvaccinated people will have to pay for their own tests in order to prove their status. An exception is made for children under the age of 12 and anyone who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. 

Are there any exceptions?

Since students are generally tested at least twice a week, they are exempt from the 3G rule in some states where the school holidays have already ended. If students are still on holiday, they must follow the 3G rule. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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PabloAndalaft2 12:12 | 2 November 2021

Do the self-test rapid tests (Spucktest Selbsttest Schnelltests) count? These are kits with a number of tests that you can buy and perform on yourself. Now that Schnelltests aren't free, it might be more cost effective to buy these, if they are accepted. So, are they? Regards,