"Lockdown for unvaccinated": German coalition parties to tighten COVID rules
The coalition parties have tightened up their plans for tackling coronavirus in Germany, with new draft legislation calling for 3G rules on public transport and in workplaces, and new contact restrictions for unvaccinated people. On Monday, the seven-day incidence rate in the federal republic exceeded the 300 mark for the first time.
Traffic light coalition tightens up planned COVID law reform
The parties likely to form Germany’s next government have revised their planned amendment to the Infection Protection Act to pursue a stricter line on some issues. Although the SPD, Green and FDP parties still intend to let the government’s emergency pandemic powers expire on November 25, they have tightened up the replacement legislation - meaning authorities in Germany will still have some tough pandemic-tackling measures in their toolboxes.
The coalition parties want to make it so that individual federal states can decide for themselves whether to use 3G rules, 2G rules (vaccinated and recovered people only), or 2G plus rules (vaccinated or recovered, plus a negative test result), in certain public spaces. Some federal states, including Berlin and Saxony, have already implemented state-wide 2G rules.
3G rules in workplaces and on public transport
Also included in the draft are some new nationwide restrictions, including reviving the obligation for employers to allow their staff to work from home, unless they have a “compelling business reason” to come to the office. Anyone who did go into work would have to comply with 3G rules: meaning they would need to be vaccinated, recovered, or tested.
The traffic light coalition is also planning to make the 3G rule apply on both local public transport and long-distance transport, so that anyone who isn’t vaccinated or recovered would need a negative test to get on a bus or train. Ministers would also retain the right to impose contact restrictions - a measure that was previously slated to expire along with the state of emergency.
The states will further retain the right to prohibit or restrict certain leisure, cultural and sporting events, as well as impose alcohol bans, and close universities - pending the approval of their state parliaments. However, they will not be able to impose curfews or travel restrictions, close restaurants, hotels, commercial or industrial establishments, or ban sports.
“Lockdown for the unvaccinated”
Robert Habeck from the Green party previously indicated that the planned tightening would mostly affect unvaccinated people, with SPD parliamentary group vice-president Dirk Wiese describing the new measures as a “lockdown for the unvaccinated.”
If passed, the new legislation would apply until March 19, 2022, with the possibility of one three-month extension. The amendment has already been introduced to the Bundestag and will be voted on this Thursday.
Germany has witnessed a rapid increase in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks. On Monday, the Robert Koch Institute reported that the seven-day incidence rate has risen to a new record of 303,0 new cases per 100.000 people. Saxony is still seeing the highest incidence rate with 754,3.
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