Germany Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions on Bars and Restaurants

Customers will now need to provide a negative COVID test or proof of a booster shot to enter restaurants. The latest rules change follows a meeting between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and state leaders.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and leaders of the country’s 16 states agreed on a new raft of rules and restrictions on Friday to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Scholz outlined new rules for restaurants and bars, while also shortening quarantine and self-isolation periods.

It was the first meeting in the new year between Scholz and state leaders, coming at a time when the new German government is looking to ramp up vaccination and booster campaigns amid a surge driven by the omicron variant.

What are the new measures?

Stricter regulations will be enforced in bars and restaurants nationwide.

Access to restaurants will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated or considered recovered who can additionally provide evidence of either a booster shot or a current negative COVID-19 test.

“It’s a strict rule, but it’s a necessary one that will help us better control infections [in the future] than is currently the case,” Scholz said, defending the measure.

Scholz emphasized the central role that booster shots will play in the weeks and months to come. He said the “best protection against omicron is a booster vaccination.”

German federal and state leaders also approved shortening required quarantine or self-isolation periods, which are currently set at 14 days.

In general, quarantine and self-isolation periods will be capped at 10 days. That period can be shortened to seven days if a person is symptom-free and receives a negative PCR test or a negative rapid test that is carried out by medical staff.

Under the new rules, people who have received a booster shot will no longer have to quarantine if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Shorter quarantine periods will also go into effect for “critical” workers, such as police, emergency and medical services.

The existing rule that private gatherings of vaccinated and recovered persons with a maximum of 10 persons are allowed will remain in place. Those who are not vaccinated will continue to be subject to strict contact restrictions.

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