Berlin makes exceptions to ‘vaccinated-only’ rule

The Berlin Senate has voted in sweeping changes to its Covid rules, including new exceptions that will allow certain groups of unvaccinated people into venues that have opted for a 'vaccinated-only' rule.

A sign informs visitors that they must be vaccinated or recovered to enter
A sign in Dresden informs visitors that they must be vaccinated or recovered to enter. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

From Sunday, October 10th, people who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons will be allowed into so-called ‘2G’ venues, which are usually only open to those who are vaccinated (geimpft) or recovered (genesen).

Like almost all other German states, Berlin allows the owners of bars, restaurants, cinemas and various other indoor venues to operate a strict ‘2G’ entry policy that excludes people who don’t have any immunity from Covid.

Along with the scrapping of free rapid tests on October 11th, the rule is intended to encourage people who are on the fence about getting vaccinated to get their jabs as soon as possible.

That means that those who are unable to get vaccinated – such as young children and people with weak immunity – aren’t intended to be disadvantaged by the rules. 

But although senators made exceptions for unvaccinated minors, state health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) originally said that people who could not get vaccinated for medical reasons would still be unable to access ‘2G’ venues.


Since vaccinated and recovered people can still carry Covid, these venues pose a particularly high risk of infection to people who may have medical vulnerabilities, she said.

On Tuesday, however, Berlin’s senators voted on a significant U-turn to allow those who are unwillingly unvaccinated into these venues. 

From Sunday, people who can’t get their jabs for medical reasons will have to bring a GP’s letter as evidence that they can’t get vaccinated, along with a negative PCR test, to enter ‘2G’ events and venues. 

However, they will have to pay for the PCR test themselves, the Senate confirmed.  

Expansion of ‘2G’

In addition to carve-outs for groups of unvaccinated people, Berlin also voted on Tuesday to expand the range of places that are allowed to opt for 2G. 

From Sunday, hotels, holiday rentals, museums, galleries, libraries, archives and memorials will join bars, restaurants and cinemas in being able to restrict entry to the vaccinated and recovered. 

Mandatory 2G will remain in place for saunas, steam rooms, brothels and clubs, while non-essential shops will have to stick with ‘3G’, meaning people can enter with a negative test instead of evidence of vaccination or recovery. 

Another major change in recent weeks is that the yellow vaccine booklet is no longer sufficient as proof of vaccination. Instead, people will need their digital health pass on the CovPass app or a printed copy of their personalised vaccine QR code, which can be obtained from a local pharmacy. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany

Member comments

  1. Looks to me like the government is a lot more interested in getting people vaccinated rather than hindering the spread of covid. People who have been vaccinated can spread the disease and yet now tests cost money for everyone. Even my doc can’t believe it.

  2. Looks to me like the government is a lot more interested in getting people vaccinated than hindering the spread of covid. People who have been vaccinated can spread the disease and yet now tests cost money for everyone, including people who medically cannot get vaccinated? Even my doc can’t believe it.

    1. Getting people to vaccinate is the best way we have at the moment to hinder the spread of covid (and it’s also why we are almost back to normal here in Germany). Just compare the latest numbers in countries with very high vaccination rates (Spain, Portugal) to ones with low rates (Romania, Bulgaria).

      As far as I know, tests are still free for people who can’t vaccinate. This article talks about PCR tests for people who want to attend 2G events and can’t get vaccinated. The whole idea is nuts, if your health is so bad that you can’t get the vaccine, some 2G party or indoors concert is the last place you should be in.

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‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.


Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music