What many entrepreneurs already suspected is now coming true.

Corona restrictions will also continue this autumn and winter.

From September onwards, according to the plans of Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), access to the interior of restaurants, hotels, hairdressing salons, cosmetic studios, fitness studios and many others will only be possible for the "3G" - those who have been tested, vaccinated or recovered.

Christian Geinitz

Business correspondent in Berlin

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Julia Löhr

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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At the same time, everyone who could be vaccinated should pay for the tests from mid-October. Depending on further developments, Spahn may even only allow vaccinated and convalescents access to events and restaurants. Not a hard lockdown, but a quasi-lockdown for the unvaccinated: This is what the new corona strategy looks like. So far, 73 percent of adults in this country have received at least one vaccination.

As expected, the new plans from Berlin are not being well received in business. “The debate and the plans are in parts too alarmist for me. With incidences of less than 20 in Europe, Germany is far behind, ”says Ingrid Hartges, General Manager of the Dehoga Hotel and Restaurant Association. It rejects a general 3G obligation from September onwards. In addition to the recorded infections, other parameters would have to be used to assess the situation, such as the vaccination rate and the number of hospital admissions for corona.

The head of the association also emphasizes that innkeepers and hoteliers have house rights and can refuse access to non-vaccinated people.

"But it is a completely different matter to generally regulate this for everyone by law or ordinance." In a constitutional state, the measures must always be proportionate.

For Hartges, only leaving vaccinated people in restaurants and hotels would be “the last resort if the infection situation deteriorates drastically”.

"Completely counterproductive"

The fitness studio association DSSV is also not very enthusiastic. "In principle, restrictions are to be rejected for all businesses," says President Birgit Schwarze. Fitness facilities are not hotspots, the hygiene concepts work. “There are millions of valid contracts between our companies and their customers, in which no agreements on access restrictions have been agreed, and our entrepreneurs will certainly not want to break their contract,” said Schwarze. She does not want to rule out a lawsuit against the rules, if they should come.

In the spring, rapid antigen tests in test centers usually cost between 20 and 30 euros. It is true that they could become cheaper in the autumn in view of the lower purchasing costs and increased competition. But even amounts of 10 or 15 euros are likely to be too much for many citizens for an hour of training, the cinema or a visit to a café. Jens Michow, President of the Association of the Concert and Event Industry, therefore considers the political plan to be “completely counterproductive”. "You should be happy when people who have not yet been vaccinated at least get tested."

Michow has recently had to listen to a lot of criticism from opponents of vaccination because he wants to hold concerts again without distance rules, i.e. economically for the organizers, even if only for those who have been vaccinated.

“It should go without saying that the path described is anything but pleasant for our industry.

Because who gives up voluntarily on fifty percent of his audience.

But what alternative do we have? "

Big differences in international comparison

In the hairdressing trade, memories of spring are coming up. The test obligation initially introduced after the end of the lockdown meant that many customers had stretched the interval between appointments, reports association manager Jörg Müller. "If you have to pay for the tests now, it will certainly be a burden for the hairdressers again." He does not want to assess whether the federal government's plans are appropriate or excessive for the situation. The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry also wants to watch the whole thing first.

It is striking how differently the countries in Europe are dealing with the pandemic after almost a year and a half of Corona.

In Great Britain, like in Germany, tests are uncommon.

Access to restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and culture is open to everyone.

There is also no longer any mask requirement, while it should apply in Germany at least until spring 2022.

In the Netherlands, neither proof nor masks are required for large parts of public life.

Denmark is also relaxed.

From October onwards, the Corona pass, which is currently still required for going to restaurants, should no longer have to be presented.

Complaints against the mask requirement are hopeless

It is different in France: Unless the Constitutional Court has still vetoed it, the “Pass Sanitaire” with test, vaccination or convalescence evidence for restaurants, hotels and long-distance rail transport is required from August 9th. It is currently used for cultural and sporting events as well as fitness studios. In Austria, too, the 3G rule applies to gastronomy, body-hugging services, hotels and leisure facilities. But there is no longer a need to wear a mask there. Tests are carried out with - still - free PCR gargle tests, which citizens can get in many places in the supermarket and return there.

Lawsuits against the mask requirement have so far been unsuccessful in German administrative courts because the interference is considered relatively minor and at the same time effective compared to other measures restricting freedom. This could even apply to fully vaccinated citizens, so argue lawyers, because this is the only way to enforce a mask requirement for everyone.

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