Corona measures 2G plus applies in the catering industry as of Thursday
Düsseldorf · Bad news for the restaurants and the gastronomy industry: access restrictions will now be tightened again in NRW. People with booster vaccinations have advantages. They will be spared additional testing obligations in many areas. The regulations have met with fierce criticism.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, 2G plus will also apply to the catering industry as of Thursday: vaccinated and recovered persons will then also have to show a negative test for eating and drinking in restaurants, pubs or cafés. However, boostered people will be exempt from the additional test obligation before visiting a restaurant, as NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) explained on Tuesday at the presentation of the new Corona Protection Ordinance for NRW. The state government is thus implementing in the short term an essential point of the federal-state resolutions of Friday against the steeply rising wave with the Omikron virus variant. Criticism came from both the business community and patient advocates.
STRENGTHENED ACCESS RESTRICTION: The 2G plus rule will be extended with the new Corona Protection Order, which will be in force until 9 February. The restriction of access to immunised persons, who must also have an up-to-date test, already applies to indoor sports, swimming pools and wellness services. From now on, it will be extended to visits to catering establishments, for which a negative rapid test certificate not older than 24 hours will also be required. The collection of food and beverages is exempt from the new restriction in the catering sector. In recreational areas, however, where a mask can be worn, the 2G rule will remain.
CRITICISM: The industry association Dehoga calls 2G plus disproportionate, a "quasi-lockdown". Regional president Haakon Herbst reckons with serious economic consequences for the restaurateurs, fears for their existence would increase. The introduction of the 2G rule - i.e. the exclusion of unvaccinated people - and the increased insecurity of the guests already left "deep traces" in the balance sheets. "Large parts of the year-end business have collapsed, liquidity is no longer available in many places. Many businesses have their backs to the wall." The regional head of the trade union NGG, Mohamed Boudih, also fears consequences: "If now, due to the 2G plus rule, even more guests give hotels, restaurants and pubs a wide berth, then an expansion of short-time work is pre-programmed“.
BOOTED AND GENESED: Boostered people will be exempt from the additional testing requirement in many areas. Those who have the booster vaccination will no longer have to present a test in recreational sports, among other things. This relief will also apply to those who have been vaccinated twice and have recovered from a Corona infection within the previous three months, Laumann explained. They would be able to do sports or visit restaurants like those who have been boostered, without having to take an additional test. The Deutsche Stiftung Patientenschutz (German Foundation for the Protection of Patients) criticises the exemption of the boostered as wrong. Vaccination and testing should not be played off against each other, because vaccination protects the person himself and testing is an important measure against the transmission of the virus.
CORONA TESTS ON THE GROUND: From Thursday, supervised self-tests will be sufficient in many places in NRW. In places where a test is one of the access requirements (3G or 2G-plus), a self-test can be carried out under supervision instead of presenting a test certificate from an official body. This applies, for example, when entering a gym with a test under the supervision of the reception staff or when exercising under the supervision of the trainer, the country's Ministry of Health explained. The supervisors, however, could not issue test certificates that would also entitle people to enter other places. Only official testing centres can do that. Whether and in what form tests are offered on site is decided by the respective operator.
MASK DUTY: According to the Ministry of Health, the exemptions from the mask obligation will be reduced again and the obligation to wear medical masks will be extended. This relates in particular to the reintroduction of the mask requirement in outdoor queues and at events and gatherings, unless they are subject to a 3G access regime (vaccinated, recovered or tested) or 2G access regime (vaccinated or recovered), it said.
QUARANTINE: In the planned shortening of quarantine and isolation after Corona infections, the country wants to wait for the new recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). According to the NRW Ministry of Health, the adaptation of the RKI recommendations on contact person management is expected by the beginning of next week. This would, among other things, set uniform national standards for handling vaccinated, recovered and boostered persons in the area of quarantine. The adaptation of the testing and quarantine ordinance of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will then follow, according to the information provided. (Original text: dpa / Translation: Mareike Graepel)