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Germany likely to introduce 2G+ rules for restaurants and cafes

Germany likely to introduce 2G+ rules for restaurants and cafes

Germany likely to introduce 2G+ rules for restaurants and cafes

Update: These rules were confirmed at the coronavirus summit on January 7.

Germany’s federal government and federal states are due to meet on Friday to hash out new restrictions to combat Omicron. Ahead of the meeting, a few details are emerging about the measures the ministers have in mind. Here’s what we know so far.

2G+ rules on the horizon for restaurants in Germany

With Omicron on the brink of overtaking Delta as the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Germany, the infection rate is rising to new heights. The seven-day incidence rate has risen sharply in the past few days, reaching 303,4 on Friday morning - as high as it was before the Christmas holidays in 2020. 

In a bid to calm the infection situation, and particularly prevent the healthcare system and emergency services from becoming overburdened by staff shortages, the federal government is seeking to adopt stricter rules as soon as possible. According to the most recent reports, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach will specifically take aim at the hospitality industry. 

According to a draft resolution prepared ahead of Friday’s talks between the federal and state governments, the plan is to introduce 2G+ rules in restaurants, bars and cafes. This means that only vaccinated and recovered people will be admitted, and they will also need a negative rapid test result - or proof that they have received a booster shot

“Gastronomy is a problem area because you often sit for hours without a mask,” Lauterbach told RTL on Thursday. This rule has already been introduced in some federal states, but the draft paper suggests that it be implemented nationwide, regardless of the incidence rate in the local area. 

Other rules to remain in place; quarantine to be shortened

A few other measures were also mentioned in the paper: 

  • 2G rules to remain in place in leisure and retail sectors
  • FFP2 masks to be strongly recommended in shops and on public transport
  • Contact restrictions to remain as they are (gatherings of vaccinated and recovered people limited to 10; unvaccinated only permitted to meet with own household plus two guests)
  • Obligation to work from home to remain in place
  • Nightclubs to remain closed

The federal government is also planning to shorten quarantine for infected people and contact persons to seven days with a test - with some exceptions for key workers and children attending primary and secondary schools and childcare. Boosted people and “freshly” vaccinated people will be exempt from quarantining if they come into contact with a positive COVID case. 

Criticism from German hotels and restaurants

The proposals have been met with criticism from the hospitality industry in particular. The Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association rejected the idea of introducing 2G+ rules in restaurants. “I warn against panic actionism, 2G+ plunges businesses into existential need,” said president Angela Inselkammer. “The planned decision would be a quasi-lockdown, and for many companies staying open would no longer be worth it.” 

According to Dehoga, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, companies across the country experienced a 41-percent decline in sales in 2021, and 55,7 percent of entrepreneurs now believe their business’s existence is threatened, according to a recent survey. 

Abi

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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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