New coronavirus regulations in NRW: 2G plus in gyms and at carnival celebrations

The omicron wave is also sweeping through North Rhine-Westphalia, the number of cases in this German state has risen to 1485. However, the situation in clinics is manageable, said NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) and announced the loosening of restrictions.

Vendors no longer have to check that all customers comply with the 2G rule. Instead, Laumann recommended the introduction of spot checks, which are currently also practiced in Rhineland-Palatinate. “For stores and markets, the 2G rule remains in effect: Only fully vaccinated or cured persons have access to them.” – the ministry stated. In the future, however, a spot check will suffice. The amendment to the Infection Protection Ordinance is effective from Wednesday until March 9. NRW wants to reassess the situation after the February 16 meeting of the federal states.

The trade industry in NRW is disappointed

The trade industry in NRW does not hide its disappointment. “Random checks instead of complete abolition is completely incomprehensible,” said Peter Achten, general manager at the NRW trade association. Achten pointed out in particular that most states have abandoned the 2G rule in favor of mandatory FFP2 masks. “Every day that the 2G rule is in effect results in high double-digit million-dollar retail losses in NRW. It is absolutely incomprehensible to us why, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia, as the number one state in retail, a real change in access regulation should only come after a federal vote, while we are being overtaken left and right by all neighboring states,” Achten said.

NRW upholds 2G plus rule in fitness clubs

In addition, the NRW government has reformulated the regulations for the 2G plus rule for fitness clubs and indoor sports – instead of abolishing it, the wording of the regulation has been revised to make it more legally secure.

Carnival celebrations only with 2G plus

At the same time, NRW has set rules for the carnival: municipalities can define “celebration zones” where celebrations are allowed, but only with the applicable 2G-plus rule. All parades or the erection of scenes are forbidden. All celebrants must be fully vaccinated, have a booster vaccination and have a current test. Laumann stressed that it’s not a matter of encouraging carnival celebrations, it’s just that it can no longer be banned completely by law. The rules are in effect until Carnival Tuesday. Those who don’t follow the rules face a “not inconsiderable fine,” Laumann said.

The obligation to vaccinate in care facilities and hospitals remains

NRW – unlike Bavaria – is sticking to mandatory vaccinations in care facilities and hospitals. “Of course, we will implement the laws that were passed,” – Laumann said. However, he assumes that it will be months before this has consequences in hospitals and nursing homes. Because it takes a long time for health authorities to be able to issue legally certain employment bans. “It will be summer before employment bans are issued. One wonders how feasible all of this is.” – Laumann said. The politician is awaiting clarification on the issue from the federal government and guidelines for health authorities.

The Hospital Association of North Rhine-Westphalia (KGNW) reacted exasperated, “Hospitals expect a clear statement from the state government on how they are to implement the vaccination obligation,” said KGNW head Matthias Blum.

The head of Verdi NRW, Gabriele Schmidt, explained that Verdi NRW continues to be critical of mandatory vaccination in care facilities and hospitals and warned of layoffs: “Staff shortages continue to get very worse! Politicians must find an answer to this.”


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