In Berlin, certain kinds of venues and other establishments will soon be allowed to choose whether they will accept vaccinated and cured persons only, or if they want to welcome individuals with negative Corona tests as well. The new rule is supposed to protect the unvaccinated, and put pressure on them at the same time.
Berlin, September 15th, 2021. Update: September 16th, 2021, 6:40 a.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — Within days, Berlin will have three categories of businesses, venues and other establishments. Some will be allowed to welcome persons who are vaccinated against Corona or who had COVID-19 exclusively (“2G” rule). Other places will have to accept customers and guests who have negative Corona tests as well (“3G” rule). But there are establishments that can decide which rule they follow. Vaccinated individuals and former COVID-19 patients will have more rights.
These are the categories:
> Discotheques, similar clubs, public saunas and brothels will be forced to welcome vaccinated and cured guests only.
> Restaurants, cinemas, cultural venues, zoos, sports establishments and businesses that offer “proximate service”, such as hairdressers and beauty parlors, are allowed to pick the rule they prefer, “2G” or “3G”.
> Retail businesses and temples of all kinds will have to accept customers and guests with negative Corona tests too (“3G”). The same applies to polling stations and events organized by political parties.
The Berlin approach which gives restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments a choice, is unique in Germany. Since the Corona pandemic reached Germany in late January of 2020, the city state of Berlin has come up with its own Corona regulations several times. Some of them were adopted for the entire country in the course of the crisis, others were not.
What the Germans call “2G” model (vaccinated or cured visitors only) has an advantage: At places where it applies, including dance clubs, people will not have to wear masks or keep their distance anymore. This means being there will feel like it did in pre-Corona times. The advantage the “3G” rule provides is obvious: More people will be allowed to enter places at which it applies. At the same time, the usual Corona rules, mandatory masks and keeping one’s distance, have to be adhered to there.
The new Corona rules are supposed to be put in place from Saturday, September 18th, 2021, the day after they are announced in Berlin’s official bulletin. According to Health Senator Dilek Kalayci, the “2G” rule is strict. There could not be any exceptions, she stressed. This meant that anyone who worked at places where this rule applied needed to be fully vaccinated or cured as well, just like the guests or customers who went there.
On Wednesday, the Senate added one exception anyway: Children under 12 years of age may take part in events reserved for vaccinated or cured persons, but they do need a negative Corona test. So far, there is no vaccine for this age group.
Protection and Pressure
Businesses and venues that have the choice between “2G” and “3G” may not mix their customers or visitors. But they are allowed to switch back and forth between the two different rules on a daily or even hourly basis. They just have to make sure the guests that came in under the “3G” rule do not mix with those who appear under the stricter “2G” rule.
“This is about protecting people who have not been vaccinated”, Senator Kalayci stated. She stressed the risk of infection was high whenever vaccinated and unvaccinated people were in the same room. Apart from protection, the new Corona rules have another purpose: They are supposed to put pressure on persons who have not been immunized yet. Germany’s Corona vaccination rate is still too low. On top of it all, the new approach is an attempt to make indoor events possible during the upcoming cold season, in spite of the general danger the Coronavirus still poses.
Critics are saying Berlin should allow exceptions for children under the age of 12 and other people who cannot be vaccinated. The Senate has rejected the idea. In the meantime, the neighboring federal state of Brandenburg just put in place similar Corona rules.
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