What's changing with Germany's COVID rules on March 4?
Germany is set to take the next step in rolling back coronavirus restrictions on March 4. Here’s a brief overview of what’s changing as of today.
Phase two of COVID measure rollback begins in Germany
As was announced at the press conference after the COVID summit on February 16, the German federal government and federal states have agreed to scrap almost all COVID-related restrictions in Germany by March 20, in a phased plan.
While 2G rules in shops were thrown out and contact restrictions eased for vaccinated and recovered people eased in mid-February, the next phase of the rollback - step two - will be implemented on March 4, bringing with it the following relaxations:
3G rules return to restaurants, cafes and bars in Germany
Up until now, 2G plus rules have been in place in indoor areas at restaurants, cafes and bars across the country, meaning that only vaccinated or recovered people are permitted entry, and they must have recently had a booster shot or a negative test result.
Now, however, these spaces are opening to unvaccinated people as well, as the 3G rule comes into effect. This means that people can enter with either proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test for coronavirus.
Nightclubs to reopen nationwide
For the first time since late December (and in some regions, even longer), nightclubs across the country will once again be able to reopen their doors to everyone and anyone who wants to let their hair down on March 4.
However, some pretty strict rules will remain in place, with all revellers required to adhere to the 2G plus rules (vaccinated or recovered plus booster jab or test).
March 4 will also see capacity restrictions relaxed for major events in Germany like concerts and football matches. Indoors, up to 60 percent of a venue’s maximum capacity can be used, with a maximum of 6.000 spectators, and outdoors the limit has been raised to 75 percent, or a maximum of 25.000 people.
Revised rules about recovered status in Germany
It’s worth noting that Germany recently changed the rules regarding how long someone is considered “recovered” after a COVID infection. Back in January, the Robert Koch Institute unexpectedly announced that it was reducing the validity of the recovered status from six to three months. After the decision was met with an outcry, the RKI increased the validity period to six months once again, but not for unvaccinated people.
That means that vaccinated people, after a COVID infection, lose their immune status 180 days after a positive test result. Unvaccinated people, on the other hand, only retain the immune status for 90 days. After this, they need to get a COVID vaccination to receive immunity status again.
Travel rules relaxed
Germany has also significantly relaxed travel restrictions this week, changing the criteria according to which a country is defined as a high risk area. From now on, more “virulent” strains of COVID-19 than the Omicron variant must be circulating for a country to be considered high risk. This means that the high risk and virus variant travel categories have been wiped clean.
Next step on March 20
The next step of reopening will take place on March 20, so long as the infection situation remains relaxed in Germany. On this date, almost all remaining far-reaching COVID measures will be scrapped in Germany, including 3G rules and contact restrictions for unvaccinated people.
However, masks will remain compulsory on public transport and in certain indoor public spaces.
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