Germany to bring forward plan for nationwide freedoms for vaccinated people

The German government is proposing new freedoms for vaccinated people and those who've recovered from Covid-19 - and the regulation looks set to come into force earlier than originally planned.

Germany to bring forward plan for nationwide freedoms for vaccinated people
Hundreds of people queueing for the AstraZeneca vaccine in Schwerin, northern Germany, on April 30th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Büttner

Several German states have already started easing restrictions for those who are fully inoculated against coronavirus, as well as for people who have recovered from Covid-19.

But now the German government is planning to push through new regulations to allow for freedoms for these groups of people – that would apply uniformly across the country.

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats, told the broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening that he thinks it is realistic that the planned regulation will come into the cabinet on Wednesday, and that the Bundestag and Bundesrat will approve it at the end of the week.

“We have the ambition that we’ll get this approval and that would also be the right course for the rights of the citizens,” he told the programme Report from Berlin.

On Monday, the coronavirus cabinet will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, of the Christian Democrats, and several ministers to discuss the plans.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) had previously submitted a draft that the federal government planned to vote on internally by “the beginning of the week”.

Under the plans, the fully vaccinated, and people who’ve recovered from Covid, would be able to “enter shops, visit zoos and botanical gardens or use the services of hairdressers and podiatrists without prior testing”.

They also wouldn’t have to stick to curfew rules. Mask and distance requirements would continue to apply to everyone.

IN DETAIL: These are Germany’s planned new freedoms for vaccinated people

Government under pressure from states

It comes after Health Minister Jens Spahn said last week the government aimed to bring in the uniform regulations by the end of May. Several states pushed back, bringing in vaccination rights immediately. This move has clearly put pressure on the government to act faster. 

Saarland’s state premier Tobias Hans said he was pleased to see that “federal plans are now on the table” and wanted to see the nationwide law pushed through his week.

“The extensive restrictions on fundamental rights must not become permanent,” the CDU politician told the newspapers in the Funke media group on Monday.

In addition to Saarland, other states that have already given vaccinated people more freedoms include Berlin, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia.

Germany reached a milestone last week when it vaccinated more than a million people in one day. The vaccination campaign has been turbo charged after more supplies of vaccines were delivered this month, and GPs got involved in the rollout.

This will continue in the coming weeks as more specialists – and in-house company doctors – are given the green light to inoculate people against coronavirus.

Some states have also dropped the priority order for receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, meaning all adults can apply for it. This has also given the campaign a boost.

Up to April 30th 26.9 percent of the population had received at least one vaccine dose. About 7.7 percent of the country is fully inoculated against Covid-19.


Vaccinated people – (die) Geimpfte/(die) Impflingen

Recovered from Covid-19 – von Covid-19 Genesene 

Ambition (der) Ehrgeiz

Restrictions on basic rights – (die) Grundrechtseinschränkungen

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Member comments

  1. Nice for those fully vaccinated, but this will totally negate the Emergency Brake – the ones who want to flaunt the rules will use this to go back to normal; or are the Police etc. going to stop EVERY car that drives during the night curfew, check EVERY gathering in a Park, EVERY House with a bunch of cars pulled up outside? They’ve done a crap job of enforcing that anyway around us, so it’ll be total chaos after this Bill passes.

  2. would someone whose residence is in another EU member state be eligible for a vaccination while on a temporary visit to Germany?

    1. Currently I do not believe that is possible. Each state runs the program in a different way, and as far as I am aware they all check to see that yo are living/working in the state. Also and there are very long registration lines and so its not very predictable when you could get a appointment.

  3. Any idea how to push for an appointment if you believe you are part of some risk group? I would not rather wait until July or so if there’s a possibility to get it sooner somehow.

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EXPLAINED: How could government intervene to settle Denmark nurses’ strike?

Over one in four people in Denmark are in favour of political intervention to resolve an ongoing nurses’ strike, but political resolutions to labour disputes are uncommon in the country.

EXPLAINED: How could government intervene to settle Denmark nurses’ strike?
Striking nurses demonstrate in Copenhagen on July 10th. OPhoto: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

In a new opinion poll conducted by Voxmeter on behalf of news wire Ritzau, 27.3 percent said they supported political intervention in order to end the current industrial conflict was has almost 5,000 nurses currently striking across Denmark, with another 1,000 expected to join the strike next month.


Over half of respondents – 52.6 percent – said they do not support political intervention, however, while 20.1 percent answered, “don’t know”.

That may be a reflection of the way labour disputes are normally settled within what is known as the ‘Danish model’, in which high union membership (around 70 percent) amongst working people means unions and employers’ organisations negotiate and agree on wages and working conditions in most industries.

The model, often referred to as flexicurity, is a framework for employment and labour built on negotiations and ongoing dialogue to provide adaptable labour policies and employment conditions. Hence, when employees or employers are dissatisfied, they can negotiate a solution.

But what happens when both sides cannot agree on a solution? The conflict can evolve into a strike or a lockout and, occasionally, in political intervention to end the dispute.

READ ALSO: How Denmark’s 2013 teachers’ lockout built the platform for a far greater crisis

Grete Christensen, leader of the Danish nurses’ union DSR, said she can now envisage a political response.

“Political intervention can take different forms. But with the experience we have of political intervention, I can envisage it, without that necessarily meaning we will get what we are campaigning for,” Christensen told Ritzau.

“Different elements can be put into a political intervention which would recognise the support there is for us and for our wages,” she added.

A number of politicians have expressed support for intervening to end the conflict.

The political spokesperson with the left wing party Red Green Alliance, Mai Villadsen, on Tuesday called for the prime minister Mette Frederiksen to summon party representatives for talks.

When industrial disputes in Denmark are settled by parliaments, a legal intervention is the method normally used. But Villadsen said the nurses’ strike could be resolved if more money is provided by the state.

That view is supported by DSR, Christensen said.

“This must be resolved politically and nurses need a very clear statement to say this means wages will increase,” the union leader said.

“This exposes the negotiation model in the public sector, where employers do not have much to offer because their framework is set out by (parliament),” she explained, in reference to the fact that nurses are paid by regional and municipal authorities, whose budgets are determined by parliament.

DSR’s members have twice voted narrowly to reject a deal negotiated between employers’ representatives and their union.

The Voxmeter survey consists of responses from 1,014 Danish residents over the age of 18 between July 15th-20th.