- Under the new policy, stores in Hesse, Germany can decide whether to implement the ‘2G rule’.
- In addition to the new 2G option, hospital staff who remain unvaccinated must be tested for Covid-19 twice a week.
- Hesse is the first German state to allow the rule at grocery stores and other retail shops.
The supermarkets in Hesse, Germany have been granted permission to deny the unvaccinated the right to buy food and other essentials, making Hesse the first German state to allow businesses to deny the unvaccinated access even to basic necessities.
The new regulation setting a troubling precedent as its neighbors wrestle with protests against vaccination mandates has been officially confirmed by the state chancellery.
Under the new policy, stores can decide whether to implement the ‘2G rule’, which means allowing entry only to the vaccinated and recovered (‘geimpft’ and ‘genesen’ in German) or the more lax ‘3G rule’, encompassing those who have tested negative for the virus (getestet).
Hesse Minister-President Volker Bouffier said he hoped the new rule wouldn’t be widely implemented, explaining: “We expect that this option will only be used on some days and that businesses which cater to everyday needs will not make use of it.”
“The greatest protection is provided by vaccination. And still it is uncomplicated, unbureaucratic and free to get,” Herr Bouffier said, noting that masking and social distancing requirements would remain in place for businesses that failed to adopt the more exclusionary 2G Rule.
In exchange for admitting only vaccinated or recovered people, 2G businesses are allowed to forgo social distancing and mask mandates – perhaps a tempting tradeoff after 18 months of burdensome face coverings.
In addition to the new 2G option, hospital staff who remain unvaccinated must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, and students are still required to mask up while seated in class.
While at least eight other German states have opened up the 2G option for certain businesses like bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas and brothels, Hesse is the first to allow the rule at grocery stores and other retail shops.
Though other European nations like Italy and France have implemented strict vaccine requirements forbidding the unvaccinated people from working (Italy) or eating at cafes (France), most leaders have stopped short of directly mandating jabs for their citizens.