“I don’t think that’s really fair,” said am Orde, 18.
In a move that effectively creates a two-tier system, Germany’s parliament passed a law Thursday that will lift some of the more restrictive shutdown regulations for those who have been vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus.
They will be free from nighttime curfews and limits on social meetings.
Germany is not alone in bringing in loosened restrictions for the vaccinated. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased its recommendations for those with protections.
But the new rules in Germany come against the backdrop of much harsher — and legally mandated — shutdown restrictions on those still waiting for a vaccine.
Areas where infections are high, which include large swaths of the country, have a curfew after 10 p.m. Households are only allowed to meet with one other person indoors and one other household outdoors.
It is a taste of what is likely to follow this summer, as borders and freedom and holidays become much easier for those who are vaccinated — who in Europe tend to be older. Youth groups have called for the same freedoms to be applied to those with a negative coronavirus test.
“Young people abided by restrictions the whole time to protect at-risk groups,” said am Orde.
“That was always justified by appealing to us to show solidarity. But now restrictions remain for young people even though they’re lifted for those we sought to protect,” she added.
Introducing the bill, Germany’s Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said there was no justification for keeping a tight lid those with the vaccine.
“Fundamental rights must be restored as soon as the justification for restricting them no longer exists,” she said in a statement. “Those who are vaccinated or recovered can meet in private without restrictions. Curfew restrictions no longer apply to vaccinated and recovered people.”
Germany’s initially stuttering vaccination program has sped up in recent weeks, with the country carrying out more than 1 million vaccinations a day, but the jabs are still not available to most younger people.
Berlin is still vaccinating what is calls “priority group three,” which includes people over the age of 60 or those in jobs considered to be higher risk.
The German government has said it hopes to open vaccinations for all groups by June, but there will probably be a longer wait for appointments.
Law enforcement officials have also raised concerns about the new law, questioning how it will be possible to enforce a nighttime curfew on half a population.
Am Orde thinks they should be extended to those with a negative coronavirus test. “Then everyone would have the same chance to enjoy those freedoms,” she said.
Tilman Kuban, the chairman of the youth wing in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, agrees.
“The point is to create normalcy for everyone — for recovered, vaccinated and negatively tested people,” he told German television channel N-TV in an interview. As long as parts of society have not yet received a vaccine offer, “we need a common path,” he said.
But Michael Neuhaus, a 27-year old spokesman for the Left party’s youth wing, said he was not bothered by the vaccinated gaining back freedoms.
“That’s a wrong understanding of solidarity,” he said. “Because I don’t gain any benefit from vaccinated people staying at home.”
He said he’s happy to see, for example, health-care workers celebrate because they’re vaccinated.
“It’s not really a scandal that those people who are vaccinated or recovered get back their basic rights,” he said. “Rather, the scandal is that there are still not enough doses for everyone so that everyone can regain their rights.”
Morris reported from Washington.