New Corona Protection Ordinance Corona rules in NRW: 2G+ also for boostered people
Düsseldorf · From 28 December, contact restrictions will also apply to vaccinated and recovered people in North Rhine-Westphalia. They will then only be allowed to have private gatherings indoors and outdoors with a maximum of ten people.
As of Tuesday the stricter provisions of the Corona Protection Ordinance will apply in NRW. There will then be contact restrictions for vaccinated and convalescent persons as well as a stricter mask requirement - for example in vehicles. A 2G-plus regulation will be introduced in indoor swimming pools or gyms. Vaccinated or recovered visitors must also show a negative rapid test.
In mid-December, the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK) had decided that people with a booster vaccination would no longer need such a test - with the exception of nursing and medical facilities. A spokeswoman for Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) explained when asked: "NRW has decided to use 2G-plus only in very selected areas with a view to the incidence of infection." In these special areas, where no mask can be worn for protection, it is also „infectologically“ required for boostered persons, according to the current state of affairs, to present a supplementary current test "in order to make these areas and settings as safe as possible for all involved." In addition, the spokesperson referred to the Omikron variant, which is much more infectious than the previous virus variants.
These rules in NRW go beyond the federal-state agreements
NRW does so in the area of gyms, swimming pools and wellness facilities and when choirs sing together. Because it is not practical to wear a mask there, customers or participants will have to show a quick test from next Tuesday onwards, which may not be taken more than 24 hours ago. For professional sports, however, there is a transitional arrangement: there, unvaccinated professional athletes are also permitted with a PCR test.
With regard to contact restrictions, NRW adopts the regulation of the Conference of Minister Presidents (MPK): as of Tuesday, 28 December, these will also apply to those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated. For private gatherings indoors and outdoors, only a maximum of ten people are allowed to meet. However, there is no limit to a given number of households. Children up to and including 13 years of age are not included in this calculation. As soon as an unvaccinated person participates, the stricter regulations continue to apply, and in addition to one's own household, only two persons from another household are allowed to participate.
Large events only without spectators
According to the NRW ordinance, on New Year's Eve, as agreed in the MPK, gatherings beyond these limits are "prohibited on public squares and streets to be determined in more detail by the competent authorities by general decree". Large events will only be allowed without spectators as of Tuesday. For other events, the limits for spectators will be lowered to a maximum of 750.
Also new are stricter requirements for masks and testing in the recreational area. "Due to the significantly higher aggressiveness of the Omicron variant, the exceptions to the mask obligation will be reduced," the ministry announced. According to the Corona Protection Ordinance, for example, the obligation to wear a mask now also applies to outdoor gatherings with more than 750 people, which are protected by the Basic Law. According to the ordinance, medical masks may no longer be dispensed with when carrying out professional activities indoors with customer traffic or in vehicles - even in the case of immunised persons and at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres.
Employees who cannot wear a mask during work and are not immunised - for example, professional musicians with wind instruments - must provide proof of a PCR test. From Tuesday, masks will also be compulsory for immunised persons in educational and cultural institutions, at trade fairs or family recreational trips - regardless of fixed seating or checkerboard arrangements.
For sports, 2G plus applies from 28 December
Since masks could not be worn during indoor sports, swimming pools and wellness activities, immunised persons would in future also have to carry a current, negative rapid test certificate no more than 24 hours old with them, the Ministry of Health explained (2G-plus). There is no detailed specification on this in the federal-state decision. In addition, the 2G-plus regulation will in future apply to many other facilities and services in NRW, including singing in choirs without masks.
The updated protection regulation is initially to apply until 12 January. Violations of the Infection Protection Act can be punished with fines of up to 25,000 euros - for example, if the ban on firecrackers is violated. The fireworks ban or the closure of clubs and discotheques decided by the federal and state governments had already been implemented in NRW before.
"I am aware that many people who showed solidarity and had themselves vaccinated early are not happy that they are now facing restrictions again at the end of the year," admitted NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU). Contact restrictions alone, however, were not enough to ward off an Omikron wave. "We must continue to push for booster vaccinations and close the still too large vaccination gap," the minister warned. "My appeal is therefore: if you have not already done so, please get vaccinated as soon as possible."
Original text: dpa. Translation: Mareike Graepel