Germany is planning to lift most of its COVID restrictions in March. On Sunday, the German government’s expert committee proclaimed a “new phase of the pandemic” Because of Omicron’s mild symptoms and went on to say “a responsible easing or changing of measures” would be possible.
The Plan, unveiled this week, would see the country open in 3 stages.
- Step one would see the upper limit for private gatherings of vaccinated and recovered people increased, restrictions on non-essential events lifted across the board, and replaced with the requirement to wear a medical mask.
- Step two would come around March 4, and involve the replacing of 2G rules in restaurants and bars with 3G rules, meaning entry would be granted to those who are vaccinated, recovered, or have tested negative. The same would apply to hotels. Nightclubs would be allowed to reopen with 2G plus rules in place.
- Step three, the final step, would take place around March 20th and would involve the lifting of all “more profound protective measures,” including the obligation to work from home.
The final decision will be made on February 16th, and it seems likely that the government will decide to lift the restrictions.
This decision comes as the Omicron variant is raging in Germany. The country has seen record numbers of new cases day after day for the past month. Some days have gone as high as 400,000 new cases. Luckily, hospitalizations and deaths have not followed this trend. Experts believe that Germany will see the peak of Omicron infections in the next week and then a sharp decline, as we’ve seen in other countries.
Germany has had strict restrictions throughout the pandemic, even going as far as locking down the unvaccinated at one point. The government has also seen massive protests against some of the regulations it has put in place. This recent shift in government policy follows a shift in the public’s concern about the virus.
Germany isn’t the only country in Europe loosening restrictions.
Several countries on the Continent have relaxed or even removed all restrictions. Including Finland, Norway, Denmark, France, and the list is growing every day.
This system is used across Germany and Austria but can be a little confusing for an outsider. Here’s what these designations mean:
- 3G: persons who recovered from COVID, fully vaccinated persons, or tested persons are admitted
- 2G: persons who recovered from COVID or fully vaccinated persons are admitted
- 2G plus: persons who recovered from COVID or fully vaccinated persons are admitted if they can also present a negative test result (People with a booster vaccination do not need a test)
It’s mandatory to wear a mask indoors, on public transit, and where social distancing is not possible. The mask must be FFP2 or KN95, cloth masks are not accepted. Work from home orders are still in place throughout most of the country. Schools are beginning to reopen in most regions.
75% of the country is fully vaccinated and 55% have received a booster shot. The government has floated the idea of a vaccination mandate, similar to Austria’s, but some officials are beginning to question if it’s necessary at this point in the pandemic.
Currently fully vaccinated Americans can enter Germany without providing a negative COVID test. For unvaccinated travelers, it’s a little more difficult. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated will need to “demonstrate an important need to travel”. You can find more information about that here. To get a German digital COVID certificate, foreigners can enter any pharmacy and a temporary certificate will be generated for you.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com