The federal and state governments have decided on far-reaching easing in three stages, which will make people's everyday lives noticeably less pandemic-dominated in the next few months – at least for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered. Only the mask will remain a fixed everyday object for the time being.
First Stage: Private Meetings…
So far, there has been an upper limit of ten people for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered. It should now be dropped. Private meetings for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered are therefore possible without a limit on the number of participants.
However, the restrictions for unvaccinated people will remain in place until March 19th. As soon as you take part in a meeting, the following applies: The meeting is limited to your own household and up to two people from another household. Children and young people up to the age of 14 are exempt from this.
… and retail
Where this has not yet happened, the access restrictions will be lifted as a first step. However, the obligation to wear a medical mask still applies. The use of FFP2 masks is recommended unless required by state law.
Second level: gastronomy, hotels and clubs …
In a second step, from March 4th, access to gastronomy will be made possible for vaccinated, recovered and people with daily tests. This rule also applies to accommodation offers. Discotheques and clubs are open to those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated with a daily test or with a third vaccination (2G-Plus).
… and major events
Those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated can participate as spectators at national major events – also in sports. For indoor events, a maximum occupancy of 60 percent of the respective maximum capacity is planned, whereby the number of 6,000 spectators should not be exceeded.
For outdoor events, a maximum occupancy of 75 percent of the respective maximum capacity is suggested, whereby the number of 25,000 spectators may not be exceeded. Masks should also be worn.
Third stage: return to almost normality
In a third step, "all more profound protective measures" are to be dropped from March 20, if the situation in the hospitals allows it. The home office obligation regulated in the Infection Protection Act should then no longer apply. However, employers can continue to offer home office in agreement with the employees – for example when working in an open-plan office.
The date of March 20 results from the Infection Protection Act: Because the regulation currently only allows protective measures for a limited period until March 19. The federal and state governments want to reduce the law to “basic protection” and extend it by a further three months.
Basic corona protection remains
"Low-threshold basic protective measures" such as the obligation to wear a mask on buses and trains, for example, but also the requirement to keep a distance, general hygiene requirements or mandatory tests in certain areas should remain possible beyond March 19. According to the decision, these protective measures are also necessary for schools and daycare centers. The countries require a legal basis for this. A corresponding legislative procedure in the federal government is being prepared.
If the infection rate worsens significantly after March 20, 2022, the federal government should quickly initiate the necessary legislative procedures for new protective measures.
The shortening of the recovered status to three months caused a lot of trouble. The background: With the Covid 19 protective measures exception ordinance of January, the Robert Koch Institute RKI and the Paul Ehrlich Institute PEI were authorized to decide who is considered recovered or vaccinated under what circumstances and for how long.
This competence should go back to the Federal Ministry of Health. According to the decision, the delegation "with regard to the determination of the vaccinated and recovered status, the delegation to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) and Robert Koch Institute (RKI)" should be omitted.
General compulsory vaccination
In order to prevent a burden on the health system, "the Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states reaffirm the need to introduce general vaccination requirements," says the decision. Various models are currently on the table. The Bundestag will probably debate compulsory vaccination in March.
Vaccination in health care
Reference is made to the ongoing deliberations of the federal and state health ministers on this controversial issue. Bavaria and some other states believe that the regulation planned for March 15 cannot be implemented at the moment and fear staff shortages in old people's and nursing homes if unvaccinated employees are no longer allowed to work there. “The health authorities have a discretion in implementing the measures,” the paper now says. "A ban on entry is the last step." Therefore, it will “not immediately automatically occur across the board”.
high risk areas
Due to the increase in incidences worldwide due to Omikron, the procedure for classifying high-risk areas is to be changed. The resolution states: "This is intended above all to make traveling easier for families, since children under the age of 12 are often not vaccinated and therefore cannot escape quarantine."