Click here for up-to-date information on current off-post conditions related to COVID regulations.
HN Update, December 22
Beginning Dec 28, vaccinated and recovered are limited to gatherings of up to ten people
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the Minister Presidents of the German states met yesterday on Dec 21, to deliberate on further measures against the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in view of the Omicron variant of concern (VoC).
The group established further restrictions on private gatherings, limiting gatherings of unvaccinated and unrecovered people to one household plus two others from another household. Beginning Dec 28, vaccinated and recovered are limited to gatherings of up to ten people. Children up to 14 do not count against the total in either case. Also beginning no later than Dec 28, large events, such as soccer games, will take place without audience, and indoor areas of discotheques and clubs will close. Dance events are prohibited.
The 2G Rule (only vaccinated or recovered) continues to apply to cultural and leisure events and large portions of the retail store market, and non-vaccinated or recovered people still require a test to go to work or to ride public transportation. The Minister Presidents requested the Federal Government and Parliament to continue with preparations for a general vaccination mandate to be implemented in February 2022. (deutschland.de, Dec 22)
In B-W, Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) said that he was dissatisfied with the decisions taken in the Federal-States Conference on Tuesday, Dec 21. Kretschmann said that the measures decided were insufficient, given the likelihood that the situation will worsen. He said that he misses the “toolbox” that had accompanied the Parliament’s declaration of an “epidemiological situation of national scope.” The declaration expired on Nov 25, and it remains a central and controversial discussion point between the federal government and the states. Kretschmann thinks that, due to the situation, it will be necessary for another Federal-States Conference before the next scheduled conference on 07 JAN 22. (SWR, Dec 22)
Vaccinated and recovered face obligation to test for visiting restaurants
Stuttgart – Vaccinated and recovered will presumably still have to be tested for the coronavirus after the holidays for a visit to a restaurant and many other areas. “It is for now the intention that only boostered do not have to present a test,” announced Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) on Wednesday in the state parliament with regard to the new Corona regulation. He justified the fact that the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) recently recommended booster vaccinations because of the Omikron variant already after three months. This, he said, confirms that what previously was determined is no longer sufficient. “We will correct that because of the Omikron variant so that only boostered people don’t have to submit a test anymore.” Currently, they are coordinating this in the departments, and the government wants to decide on the new Corona regulation before Christmas, he said.
The state government had already announced in early December a testing obligation also for vaccinated and recovered (2G plus), for example in restaurants, but then Kretschmann had rowed back. Currently, people who have recovered are exempt from mandatory testing if they can prove that the infection occurred no more than six months ago. And, for those who have been vaccinated, the rule is that the second vaccination should have been given less than six months ago. People with a booster vaccination are to be exempted. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 22)
School ID (Schuelerausweis) serves as test certificate
Beginning tomorrow, Dec 23, due to a Germany-wide rule unvaccinated schoolchildren will need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test to ride on public transportation, and during the holiday break, school IDs will NOT be sufficient as proof of testing in 3G areas. When classes resume on 10 JAN 22, schoolchildren 17 and under will again be able to use their school IDs as proof of tests because in-school testing will resume after the holidays. Since the end of November, students 18 and older have no longer been able to use their school IDs as proof of testing, and that rule will remain in place. (SWR, Dec 22)
Prohibited Corona demonstration in Reutlingen – 500 demonstrators now face heavy fines
Reutlingen – “Because of the violation of the assembly ban, fine proceedings have already been initiated against them,” the city announced on Wednesday. Those affected would have to expect fines of up to 500 euros. The announced assembly with the theme “Freedom, truth, self-determination” had been banned by the district office and the city. Nevertheless, about 1000 people gathered in the center and started to move despite loudspeaker announcements by the police. After a few minutes, the procession was stopped. The officers locked up a larger group of people. The police took down personal details and issued around 500 fines. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 22)
Non-COVID related news:
How churches celebrate Christmas Eve – Open-air services with singing
Böblingen district – The churches are taking a much more relaxed approach to the second Christmas under Corona conditions than last year. “Many congregations in Böblingen have moved their services outside on Christmas Eve.”Each congregation regulates 2G or 3G differently,” Frasch says. For example, the Stadtkirche congregation does not require proof of vaccination, recovery or testing for open-air events. Other congregations, such as the Martin Luther congregation in Böblingen, on the other hand, only allow convalescents and vaccinated people with appropriate proof into the church between Christmas and New Year.
That is why all the events of the city church community will take place on Friday in front of the church: At 4 p.m. there is a family service with the Rev. Gerlinde Feine, at 6 p.m. the Christmas Vespers with the Dean Frasch and at 10 p.m. a Christmett. “Outdoors, we can at least sing a little bit. After all, what is Christmas without singing?” At the catholic church singing is not a problem. “With masks may be sung in the Christmas services even indoors,” says Annette Neumann-Eberhard of the Catholic Gesamtkirchengemeinde in Böblingen. The other rules in the pandemic are quite uniform: in all churches, masks and distance are compulsory. Accordingly, the number of churchgoers is limited. All church congregations must collect the contact data of their visitors. Most require prior registration. Churchgoers are on the safe side if they check the exact regulations in advance on their congregation’s website. The St. John’s parish in Sindelfingen, for example, puts its nativity play on the Internet. And St. Martin’s parish streams its devotions at 4 and 5 pm. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 22)