Source: trans.info, 2021-11-23
Due to the increasing number of coronavirus infections, the German government has taken further steps to decrease the spread of the virus. One of these measures is the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 certificates or test results at workplaces. This decision also applies to Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers, who will need to provide proof of being covid-free at loading places.
The number of infections in Germany has risen sharply – mainly due to the highly contagious Delta variant and because the vaccination rate in the working population is still insufficient, explains the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Therefore, the German government has introduced so-called 3G rules (short for German words “geimpft, genesen, getestet”, meaning “vaccinated, healed, tested”.) Workers are only allowed to enter an office, factory or other kinds of workplaces if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, recovered from the disease, or tested negative.
Employers are required to check and document this daily.
Violations can result in a fine of up to €25,000.
The regulations will apply from 24 November, and are in force until 19 March, 2022.
According to the newspaper “Die Welt,” the results of PCR, antigen tests or, for example, home tests performed “under supervision” (for example certified by the employer within the last 24 hours,) will be accepted. However, tests purchased at drugstores and carried out without any supervision will not be accepted.
The German logistics industry is concerned about the serious consequences of the new regulations. The covid pass requirement also applies to lorry drivers who drive to different places of loading and unloading in Germany. “In the transport sector, this regulation risks paralysing supply chains,” Florian Eck, the Managing Director of the German Transport Forum, told German newspaper Handelsblatt.
The matter becomes even more complicated when it comes to cross-border deliveries.
“Staff are often vaccinated with unapproved vaccines and cannot test before delivery. Therefore, it is not possible to enter the company’s premises, the delivery should be stopped,” – adds Eck.
Eck points out, that since March 2020, companies have been building designated areas for lorry drivers and developing their hygiene standards. Therefore, transport workers should be exempt from testing as long as their stay at the workplace is only temporary and all hygiene and protection measures are respected.
The designated areas would include, inter alia, separate toilets for external transport personnel.
“If there are no exceptions to the 3G rule for the transport industry, traffic jams won’t emerge at the borders this time, but rather in city centres and at the gates of logistics centres,” warns Eck.
The BGL (Federal Association for Freight Transport, Logistics and Waste Management) shares this criticism.
“Everything must be done to ensure smooth logistics, ” Dirk Engelhardt, General Manager of BGL, told Handelsblatt.