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No Jab? No Food. German State Allows Supermarkets to Bar Unvaccinated

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: October 15, 2021
Hessen Germany Bars Unvaccinated From Supermarkets
Rewe supermarket on April 29, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. The state of Hessen, home to Frankfurt, has allowed all shops, including supermarkets, to deny access to all citizens unless they can show papers demonstrating vaccination status or recovery from previous COVID-19 infection. (Image: Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

All retail stores, including supermarkets, are now permitted to enforce measures that allow only those who can flash a vaccine passport verifying their injection status or evidence of a previous Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection to enter in a German state home to more than 6 million people. 

The state of Hessen in central Germany, which includes the city of Frankfurt, enacted the measures to bar the unvaccinated from entering any retail outlet “at the request of the sector,” according to an Oct. 15 article by The Local.

Hessen President Volker Bouffier was quoted by the outlet as saying, “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 Local says the decision was made after a Frankfurt court ruled in favour of a barbecue utensil store that filed a lawsuit looking to voluntarily bar the unvaccinated from its premises against government policy. The court was quoted as saying it had, “considerable legal reservations about the exclusion of sales outlets and similar establishments from the so-called 2G rule.”

The “2G” and “3G” Rule referred to come from the German-language terms for  vaccinated (geimpft), COVID-19 recovery (genesen), and negative test holders (getestet).

In August, Germany’s federal government installed the 3G Rule across the country. The Local quoted the government as stating, “Those who are not vaccinated will have to be tested regularly if they meet other people indoors, in order to prevent the spread of the virus,” noting that free testing would be eliminated on Oct. 11, making it financially punitive to be unvaccinated.

The outlet said 3G did not apply at “shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, doctors as well as local and long-distance public transport,” adding, “Throughout the pandemic, German authorities have excluded supermarkets and other grocers from most restrictions, such as lockdowns and entry rules, in order to ensure that everyone has continued access to essential goods.”

2G Rules drop the negative test component of the policy. The article said the measure “has so far been allowed in half of Germany’s states for certain public places like bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cinemas,” but notes, “The government in Hesse said that it had taken the decision to go a step further and allow shops to bar entry to the unvaccinated.”

The Local states bluntly the changes are a matter of pushing vaccine acceptance, “Throughout the pandemic, German authorities have excluded supermarkets and other grocers from most restrictions, such as lockdowns and entry rules, in order to ensure that everyone has continued access to essential goods.”

“With several million German adults still to be vaccinated as the winter draws near, authorities have sought to up the pressure on them by making access to some parts of public life more difficult or costly.”

Stores who install the 2G regime in their facilities will be allowed to dispose of masking and social distancing requirements. 

According to Statista as of time of writing, Hessen ranks in the middle of the pack of German states for vaccine uptake. 68.3 percent have accepted a single injection and 64.5 percent have accepted a double injection. 

In September, Italy foreshadowed an expansion of vaccine passports to supermarkets as the government talked of requiring injection for all workers in the sector. A few weeks later, the government mandated vaccination for all private sector workers instead. 

Also in mid-September, Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz was broadcast on national television speaking to a colleague while unaware his mic was live, admitting that vaccine passports were really about influencing the hesitant to succumb to societal pressure.

The notion was further echoed in a leaked Zoom call between leadership at a large North Carolina hospital who advocated for manipulating COVID-19 data in an attempt to spur public fear of the pandemic to drive vaccine uptake, as well as in an undercover Project Veritas sting against a Johnson & Johnson scientist that candidly advocated for making life difficult for the unvaccinated by creating a tier of “second grade citizens.”