More German states opt for optional 2G rules to exclude unvaccinated

More German states opt for optional 2G rules to exclude unvaccinated

Following the example of Hamburg, a growing number of federal states in Germany are implementing their own 2G models - rules that allow individual businesses to admit only vaccinated or recovered people - to aid the fight against coronavirus into the autumn and winter. 

Growing number of German federal states impose 2G rules

The 3G rule currently applies nationwide in Germany, meaning that certain public spaces are only accessible to those who are vaccinated, recovered, or tested. At the end of August, however, Hamburg introduced an optional 2G rule, allowing businesses to essentially bar anyone who is not vaccinated or recovered. 

With the vaccination rate stagnating, many of Germany’s federal states are looking nervously towards the autumn and winter, which bring with them the risk of higher infection rates. In an attempt to protect the healthcare system and prevent hospitals from becoming overloaded, at least seven states in Germany have decided in recent days to implement their own version of Hamburg’s 2G model - and more are thinking about it. Here’s an overview of what rules are planned where. 


A new three-stage plan for coronavirus measures will come into force in Baden-Württemberg this Thursday, September 16. In the future, the state will look to the number of occupied intensive care beds when deciding whether to enact stricter measures. 

Should more than 12 COVID patients be admitted to intensive care within seven days, or the total number of intensive care patients rise above 390, the state will enter stage three of the plan. This will see 2G rules imposed on public events, and private gatherings between unvaccinated people limited to a maximum of two households. 


After already adopting 2G rules for indoor areas in nightclubs, Germany’s capital city has now decided to extend them to events and services. The new 2G rule - which is similar to the model already in operation in Hamburg - is expected to come into effect in Berlin this Saturday. 

It allows establishments to implement 2G rules and in return benefit from certain relaxations, such as dispensing with distance or mask requirements. At major events where only vaccinated or recovered people are present, the new rules would allow for 100 percent capacity with a maximum of 25.000 participants. 


Berlin’s neighbour, Brandenburg, will also let businesses decide for themselves about whether or not to allow in unvaccinated people. The new regulation will come into effect on Thursday, and applies to events, indoor catering, accommodation, bus and boat trips, city tours, indoor sports facilities, cultural institutions, discos, clubs and festivals. Businesses that implement 2G rules will also be allowed to relax distance and mask rules. 


In addition to the mandatory 3G rule, the state of Hesse is also introducing a 2G option model from this Thursday. At events and in public spaces where 2G rules are enforced, mask and distance rules will not apply.

Lower Saxony

A 2G model has already been in force for several days in Lower Saxony, but it will soon be extended further to cover gastronomy, cultural events, and sport. Public spaces that choose to implement 2G rules will be allowed to relax the rules on social distancing and masks. 


The system in Rhineland-Palatinate is similar to that in Baden-Württemberg, in that state authorities have introduced a traffic light system based on the incidence rate, the hospitalisation rate, and the occupancy rate in intensive care units. 

The state’s version of a “2G model” has been in force since Saturday, dispensing with most restrictions for vaccinated and recovered people. Unvaccinated people still have to live with some restrictions, depending on which traffic light level is in force. If the incidence rate increases, they could be prevented from attending events or even eating in restaurants. 

Mask and social distancing requirements continue to remain in place in all indoor areas and crowded spaces, regardless of 2G or 3G rules. 


Saxony is also following in Hamburg’s footsteps and has introduced a 2G option model system. Business owners and events organisers can decide for themselves whether they want to admit unvaccinated people. If they decide to exclude them, they will be allowed to scrap mask and distance requirements. 


The state government in Saxony-Anhalt has also decided to introduce a 2G option model, allowing individual businesses to decide for themselves whether to operate 2G or 3G rules. The government in Magdeburg emphasised that it is an option, not an obligation. 

Again, businesses that opt for 2G rules do not have to comply with distance rules, mask requirements or capacity restrictions. They can also choose to alternate 2G and 3G rules on a daily or even hourly basis. 


The government in Schleswig-Holstein is looking to pass a new ordinance on Wednesday, which would actually loosen a lot of restrictions, including distance and mask guidelines, for vaccinated, recovered and tested people after September 20. If the coronavirus situation should worsen in the state, the plan is to gradually move to a “2G regulation with a 3G option”. 


Nothing is yet confirmed, but the Ministry of Health in Thuringia is reportedly examining the introduction of a 2G rule for certain public areas.

No more lockdowns planned in Germany

With states pressing ahead with 2G rules, the German federal government has stated explicitly that it is not planning any new lockdowns. 



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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