German Christmas markets ban drinking wine for unvaccinated while COVID rate rises

Hamburg: At the Christmas market on Hamburg’s main square this year, only revelers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently recovered will be able to indulge in steaming mulled mulled wine and candied almonds or ginger under festive fairy lights.

The unvaccinated will still be able to look through the bottle green stalls selling handicrafts, listen to songs, ride on the carousel or admire the birth scenes.

The unvaccinated will still be able to walk through the markets in German cities such as Hamburg or Oberhausen, but will not be allowed in the food and drink area.

The unvaccinated will still be able to walk through the markets in German cities such as Hamburg or Oberhausen, but will not be allowed in the food and drink area. Credit:AP

But the gastronomy section will be unrestricted behind a fence, with security guards checking for evidence of vaccination or recovery at the entrance, organizer Heide Mombaecher said as vendors set up stands ahead of next week’s opening.

Such a separation is the latest example of new rules introduced in Germany that aim to contain a fourth coronavirus wave without imposing a general key. Some companies also create separate areas in canteens for the vaccinated.

The rules also aim to encourage the unvaccinated to get shot, as Germany has one of the lowest vaccinations in western Europe at 67 percent and reports record high infections.

“There have to be access restrictions,” Marion Begas said as she set up her pottery stand at the Hamburg market, which will have 40 percent fewer booths this year to ensure greater social distance. “It’s a way to protect everyone.”

Germany’s famous Christmas markets, which were suspended last year due to the pandemic, now have to comply with strict security rules that vary from state to state and are constantly changing.

As infections increase and intensive wards fill, there are growing doubts about whether Christmas markets should be held this year.

Leave a Comment