Fact check: Photo shows fence in Romanian store, not Germany

The claim: A photo shows a fence separating vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Germany

Facing a renewed surge of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths, then-Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor, Olaf Scholz, announced in early December that Germany will require proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 in non-essential public spaces, like restaurants and recreational venues.

Soon after, a photo circulated on Twitter and Facebook that supposedly showed how Germany was enforcing the measures: with a wired fence dividing the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. 

“Meanwhile in Germany, the vaxxed and non-vaxxed are separated with a fence in a supermarket,” reads a Dec. 3 tweet with more than 6,000 shares.

The same claim appeared in several Facebook posts. But it’s wrong.

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The photo wasn’t taken in Germany. It shows a store in Romania, where non-essential public places require “green passes” for entry. The passes certify the holder has been vaccinated, has recovered from COVID-19 or has recently tested negative.

According to several Romanian news outlets, the fence in the photo separated sections of essential and nonessential goods at a Kaufland hypermarket. 

USA TODAY reached out to several social media users who shared the post for comment.

A carousel is reflected in a puddle at a Christmas fair in Bucharest, Romania, on Nov. 27, 2021.

Fence was erected in Romanian hypermarket

Though the fence in the photo is related to vaccination requirements, you can’t find it in Germany.

A Romanian Facebook user, Adrian Prisecaru, posted the photo Nov. 22, as Health Feedback reported. According to a Google translation of Prisecaru’s post, the image shows a Kaufland store in Arad, Romania.

As a “hypermarket,” or combined grocery and department store, Kaufland offers both essential goods like groceries and non-essential goods. The fence separates those departments.

The fence does not separate all vaccinated shoppers from all unvaccinated shoppers. Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, can enter the store for essential goods.

However, the fence prevents Romanian shoppers without green passes from shopping at non-essential vendors.

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Similar setups appeared in photos, videos and news coverage of other Kaufland locations around the countryFrench fact-checking outlet LCI reported many of the chain’s locations implemented the same fence separator.

Some Romanian mayors questioned the legality of the fences, and several of them were soon removed from stores, according to Romanian news outlets.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a photo shows a fence separating vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Germany. The photo was taken at a Kaufland shopping center in Romania and shows a fence separating sections for essential and nonessential goods. While it doesn’t separate all unvaccinated shoppers from all unvaccinated shoppers, the fence limits unvaccinated people’s access to sections of non-essential goods.

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