2G: “Leisure insurance” for Bavaria’s children and youth?

Whether it is a cinema, a swimming pool, a museum or a zoo – so far children and youth have been able to visit almost all cultural, sports and leisure facilities using their student ID: since they are regularly tested at school, it was enough to provide their student ID for access. Even when “3G plus” was prescribed otherwise – the visit was reserved for those vaccinated, those who recovered and those tested for PCR – a special rule that applies to schoolchildren. Only for discos and clubs it is not enough to present a student ID.

From today, the situation is fundamentally changing: after the traffic light for the hospital in Bavaria turned red and Corona restrictions were tightened, 2G is now applied to many areas of public life in Bavaria: only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered have access. An exacerbation particularly affects children aged 12-17 years. Because in Bavaria there is no other age group in which the vaccination rate is as low as in this category – according to the Robert Koch Institute, only 40 percent are vaccinated there. That means: 60 percent of children and young adults aged 12 and over have to stay outside in many places from now on. For comparison: more than 75 percent of Bavarian adults are vaccinated – stress affects less than a quarter of them.

Basically, everything is only open to children under the age of twelve

In the Bavarian Corona law, a distinction is mainly made between children under the age of 12 and those aged 12 and over. The Corona vaccine for young people has not yet been approved in Germany. They are exempt from the 2G rule in Bavaria.

For people aged 12-17, for whom a general vaccination recommendation has been issued by the Permanent Immunization Committee (Stiko) since late summer, the same 2G restrictions apply in Bavaria as for adults. This means that non-vaccinators will be denied access to many cultural, sporting and recreational activities in the near future. This applies to fitness studios, sports facilities, theatres, cinemas, museums, zoos, swimming pools, solariums and cable cars. Twelve-year-olds with no evidence of vaccination or a cure cannot use all of these offerings at the moment – despite being tested three times a week at school.

Children and youth over twelve years old can visit cafes, restaurants and hotels where 3G plus service is now applicable, as well as bookstores (3G) on presentation of their Student ID. There are no restrictions on access to shops and public transportation.

Warning from the Permanent Vaccination Committee

The apparent criticism of the new regulation came Monday afternoon from the Free Voters (FW), who govern alongside the CSU. FW education expert in the state parliament, Tobias Guthart, said children could not suffer because some adults were still against vaccination. “We must not place a disproportionate burden on our children and youth with strict 2G regulation and force them into a new kind of ‘entertainment ban’.”

Gotthard noted a warning from the Committee on Immunization, which had written in mid-August when updating the vaccination recommendation for children aged 12 to 17: “Stiko expressly opposes vaccination being a prerequisite for the social participation of children and young people.”

Criticism of Liberal Voters and the Alternative Party

With constant testing in schools, children and young adults are among the demographic groups that are best observed, the politician from the Liberal Voters party emphasized. “The 2G status of pupils must be considered fulfilled if they can prove their normal school test by passing the test or student ID card. (…) With these regulations, we do not need Bavaria saddles at the expense of our children!

The parliamentary group for Alternative for Germany rejects 2G as well as all other Corona restrictions on principle. Andreas Weinhardt, a health expert with the Alternative for Germany party, complains that “the second generation law means a virtual shutdown of citizens who are not immune”.

FDP warns of sports, cultural and social impoverishment

“You had to pay attention to that,” the deputy leader of the parliamentary group of the Bavarian FDP Julika Sandt stunned the Liberal voters who are part of the government. It is completely unacceptable that children and young people, who have had to deal with so many flaws in the past year and a half, should suffer again. When asked by BR, Sandt also spoke of “securing leisure time” for children and young people: “It is a sporting, cultural and social impoverishment.”

FDP generally supports 3G instead of 2G. According to Saint, this will be especially important for children between the ages of 12 and 17. “When it comes to children and youth, the state government has failed miserably in the entire Corona crisis,” said the FDP politician. “Worst, she hasn’t learned anything from her mistakes.”

Green: “It can’t be”

Green Party leader Katharina Schulz is calling for the 3G-plus rule to continue to be applied to the recreational activities of schoolchildren. Schulz wrote on Twitter: “The Sodder government always says children and young people first. Actually it looks different again. It shouldn’t be like that.” Adults can and should tolerate more.

She also criticized the general secretary of the Bavarian Social Democratic Party, Arif Tasdelen. He demanded on Twitter: “Children and youth must never be victims of Söder politics again!”

angry parents

Sometimes the new 2G rule is also met with a lack of understanding and annoyance among parents. “Why don’t families finally take to the streets?” This was stated in a reader’s comment on the BR24 page. The 13-year-old is no longer allowed to meet her friends at the ice rink, at the pool or at the cinema – and she can’t even go to the gym. “Does one of these politicians really think about the consequences of measures for children (keyword: psychology, social and health development)?”

Another reader wrote: “My daughter is the most tested person in our house (3 times a week). She is allowed to sit in class with 30 students and drive on the crowded bus, but no longer for sports?” Sports are much needed as a budget for school and health prevention.

Poorly crafted regulations

Sports clubs and their coaches also face new challenges. One reader wrote to BR24: “The new Bavarian Corona regulations for twelve-year-olds, with which old mistakes have been made again, honestly shocked me as a parent and volunteer football coach.” The man even sent a letter to Prime Minister Marcus Söder (CSU). “I don’t know the vaccination status of the children I take care of as a coach and I don’t even want to know, because I will not make vaccination a prerequisite for participating in football training, that is, for their social participation,” he said.

The youth coach announced that he would therefore abandon the internal training scheduled for next week so as not to have to exclude any of the “boys”. In his opinion, the new regulation is especially weak: even if a player is twelve years old and received the first vaccination on his birthday, he will have to do without training in the hall: “Vaccination is not allowed before your birthday, however, when he is born, he is considered unworthy. Immunized overnight and therefore excluded from social engagement for six to eight weeks.”

Holetschek: Vaccination of the twelve is “still expandable”

Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Hollitschke said in the evening at “BR24 Rundschau” that vaccination of children and young people from the age of twelve “is certainly still scalable”. He pointed out that schools can provide vaccinations along with vaccination centers.

However, it is possible that the last word in the 2G rule for 12-17 year olds has yet to be uttered. On the other hand, the Ministry of Health announced that it will study “whether the 2G regulation still needs to be expanded”. At the same time, however, she offered the possibility of seeing if it was possible to “reduce the hardships of children and young people”. There will be an opportunity to make such a decision at noon – at the meeting of the Bavarian Cabinet.

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