Corona rules: 2G-Plus for gastronomy and free testing – 2022 resolutions because of the Omicron wave [UPDATE]

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Omicron alarm in Germany: The federal and state governments are tightening the corona rules again. 2G-Plus now applies in restaurants. There is relief with the quarantine.

2G-Plus now applies in restaurants: Shorter isolation times with free tests, but access restrictions for people who have been vaccinated twice in the catering trade: Despite differing opinions, the federal and state governments have agreed on a joint approach in the fight against the corona pandemic. Among other things, restaurant owners now have to accept tougher restrictions with the 2G Plus rule.

On Friday the Prime Ministers of the federal states met with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and his expert council for a crisis summit. Those responsible are united by concern about the rapid spread of the corona virus, especially the new Omikron variant.

2G-Plus

Corona rules: State Premier’s conference (MPK) agrees on quarantine times and 2G-Plus

The number of infections in Germany increased drastically over the Christmas period. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the seven-day incidence on Friday morning as 303.4. The day before it was 285.9, a week ago it was 214.9.

▶ Since the Omicron virus shows a milder course compared to the Delta variant, there is growing concern that there may be many staff shortages in Germany in the coming weeks – this includes the critical infrastructure (police, Fire brigade, administration, energy supplier)

The federal and state governments want to take targeted countermeasures. The quarantine time will be shortened from 14 to ten days. In addition, there will be better opportunities for free testing.

Most importantly, access to restaurants, pubs and bars will be more strictly regulated with the 2G-Plus rule. But what exactly does that mean for the individual? Below are the most important questions and answers at a glance:

Shortened quarantine: vaccinated, unvaccinated, free tests – which corona rules apply exactly?

  • Duration of quarantine for infected people: Instead of the previous 14 days, infected people only have to be in isolation for ten days. After seven days, however, those affected can test themselves freely with a PCR test or with a rapid test certified by the Paul Ehrlich Institute. However, the rapid test must be carried out in a test center. This general rule also applies to school and daycare children. Clinic and nursing staff can free themselves from isolation even after seven days – but only with a negative PCR test. Condition: Those affected must have been free of omicron symptoms for 48 hours beforehand.
  • Isolation of contact persons: Anyone who has had longer contact with a Covid 19 sufferer also has to be in quarantine for ten days. Here, too, a free test is possible after seven days. Two special features: Symptom-free employees in clinics and care facilities can in this case be able to test themselves after just five days. The same applies to school and day-care children.
  • Exemption from quarantine: There are exceptions to quarantine only for contact persons, not for infected people A total of three contact groups can avoid isolation: those who are boosted, i.e. who have received three vaccinations, as well as those who have been vaccinated twice and those who have recovered. There is one condition for the last two groups of people: The last corona vaccination or the Covid 19 disease must only be less than two months ago.

But do the many free test options make sense? Following the summit meeting, Chancellor Scholz rejected criticism of these easing. On the one hand, this would help avoid staff shortages in the critical infrastructure, said the head of government. On the other hand, the measures were carefully weighed and discussed with the experts of the federal government.

Corona summit: 2G-Plus in restaurants, bars and pubs – Chancellor Scholz and Minister Lauterbach defend resolutions with a view to Omicron

In order to compensate for the loosening of restrictions on one hand, other restrictions have to be implemented. A tightening of the corona rules affects the catering trade in particular. While most of the other Corona rules remain in place, access to restaurants, bars and pubs should only be possible using 2G-Plus.

Because the gastronomy is one of the greatest sources of danger for infection. 

“You often sit there for hours without a mask. And if people there then mutually infect each other, as we see a lot at Omicron, then we need better protection, hence 2G plus, that is, vaccinated and additionally tested.”

2G-Plus
Prof. Karl Lauterbach, German Health Minister

But what does that mean in concrete terms? Below is a clearer overview.

Corona summit: 2G-Plus in gastronomy, contact restrictions and mask requirement – the overview

  • 2G-Plus in restaurants, cafés and other catering establishments : According to this, only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered (2G) should be allowed access if they can also present a negative test (2G plus). Exception: those who are boosted can enter without a test. Unvaccinated people generally have to stay outside.
  • Contact restrictions remain in place: Vaccinated and convalescents are allowed to meet a maximum of ten people at private get-togethers. For those who have not been vaccinated, the following still applies: only members of your own household and a maximum of two people from another household are allowed to meet. Children up to the age of 14 are excluded.
  • Clubs and discos will remain closed.
  • Access restrictions for unvaccinated people continue to apply  : nationwide, access to facilities and events for cultural and leisure activities (cinemas, theaters, restaurants, etc.) and in some cases also to retail ( exception: shops for daily needs ) is only for vaccinated and convalescent people (2G ) possible. In addition, a current test can be prescribed (2G-Plus).

Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) defended the action. She hoped that the stricter rules for gastronomy would give the current vaccination campaign more momentum. 

“This is an additional incentive for boosting, this is a desired incentive that we also want” said the SPD politician after the federal-state consultations.

2G-Plus
Franziska Giffey (SPD), Berlin’s governing mayor

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