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The Omicron type of coronavirus has spread in Germany, but the peak of the wave appears to be over. So, the signs are now pointing to a relaxation: from March 20, no more far-reaching precautions will be implemented in the country. The road there leads in three phases agreed upon by the federal and state governments on Wednesday at the Corona Summit.
We explain what the interim plan says and what changes vacationers in Germany can expect. Because the classification of high-risk areas could also be different in the future.
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Gradual easing of restrictions
The federal and state governments have agreed on a three-phase plan that will gradually ease the current coronavirus restrictions. “By the spring of March 20, 2022, far-reaching restrictions on social, cultural and economic life will be gradually withdrawn,” the decision reads.
Step 1There are no longer any restrictions on the number of participants in private meetings once everyone has been vaccinated or recovered. Existing rules should continue to apply to those who have not been vaccinated: your family and two people from another home may get together.
Additionally, as a first step, access to retail outlets nationwide will be possible without verification. Instead, the FFP2 mask requirement applies.
Level 2On the 4th of March, if health permits, the 2G-plus rule in the restaurant business should be abolished and replaced with the 3G rule. So far, unvaccinated people without evidence of recovery are not allowed in. Evidence of vaccination, recovery or current corona test is also sufficient for tourist accommodation offers. 2G plus will continue to be applied to discos and clubs.
For major outdoor events, a 75 percent occupancy rate (maximum 25,000 spectators) must be allowed. Inside, 60 per cent (maximum 6,000 spectators) must be allowed. Only those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated should have access to major national events.
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3 . levelOn March 20, all major restrictions may fall if the situation in the health system permits. The home office obligation included in the Infection Protection Act must then also be revoked.
What about the obligation to wear masks on buses, trains and planes?
“Mask requirements in closed rooms of public facilities as well as on buses and trains” will be maintained after March 20.
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What does the phased plan for holidays in Germany mean?
The relaxation planned in the phased plan will make vacations and trips in Germany possible again for unvaccinated people. At the moment, it is only possible to check into the hotel and visit the restaurant with proof of 2G or 2G-plus, from 4 March the 3G rule should take effect – so the current negative test will also allow entry.
The German Tourism Association hopes that city tourism will see a revival as a result of this facilitation. “Especially for the revitalization of cities and for all relevant shows, the abolition of access restrictions in retail is very important as a first step,” says Norbert Koons, managing director of DTV.
The gradual enabling of major events and the removal of capacity restrictions on March 20 will give the culture, event, trade fair industry and city tourism a sigh of relief.
Will the high-risk area classification change?
The German government currently classifies more than 100 countries around the world as high-risk areas. In Europe, with the exception of Malta and Slovenia, all countries are included in the list published weekly by the Robert Koch Institute.
The basis for the classification is above all a seven-day incidence well above 100. However, other criteria are also included – eg prevalence, hospitalization rate, positive rate of corona tests. However, the current regulation for categorizing Corona’s high-risk areas will now be reviewed.
“In order to take into account the accidents that have increased worldwide due to Omikron, the federal government will adjust the classification of high-risk areas,” says the federal and state government decision, reached in Berlin on Wednesday.
Will high-risk areas decrease soon?
A number of countries could fall off the list if the criteria for classifying high-risk areas are relaxed. This will also cancel the quarantine obligations for returnees from travel. Currently, all people who have not been vaccinated or recovered must be isolated for up to ten days. Free testing is possible from the fifth day. For children under the age of six, quarantine ends automatically after the fifth day.
What is the current situation of Corona?
In Germany, the number of infections has risen sharply since the beginning of January 2022, and the reason for this is the spread of the omicron variant. The seven-day infection rate is currently 1401.0 (as of February 16), with 219,972 new infections reported in the past 24 hours.
However, it appears that the peak of the omicron wave has passed in most federal states. In its current statement on February 14, 2022, the federal government’s Council of Experts assumes that the increase in numbers will end in the next few weeks. As a result, the wave is expected to stabilize and the number of new infections with the omicron variant will decrease.