After offering free beverages to unvaccinated guests at its Berlin locations, a German coffeehouse business found itself in hot water. The action was in response to the implementation of tougher lockdown measures last weekend.
Last Saturday, the German capital’s ‘2G-plus’ rules went into effect, restricting access to most public venues to people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or who have recovered from the disease.
On Tuesday, the Wonder Waffles franchise announced on its social media pages that it was offering unvaccinated customers free coffee. The promotion actually applied to to-go orders by all consumers, regardless of their vaccination status, according to a small-print language section.
The promotion was in response to the 2G guidelines, which meant “we are no longer authorized to welcome so many frequent guests,” according to the message.
The ad landed Wonder Waffles right in the middle of heated debate in Germany over vaccine mandates and whether the authorities were overstepping their boundaries in the effort to get people vaccinated.
Apparently uncomfortable with the situation, the chain deleted the message and posted a new one on Wednesday, saying social media was not the right platform to have that debate. While the chain stands for freedom of expression, it didn’t want its shops to be the target of review bombing, the statement said. The offer of free coffee for everyone remains in place till the end of December.
San Sebastian, in Berlin’s Charlottenburg neighbourhood, is another establishment that has put itself into the vaccine row. It, also, provides free coffee to anyone who buys cakes, regardless of vaccination status.
Customers reacted favourably to the ad, according to the daily Tagesspiegel, which was launched because people with various viewpoints must not be marginalized, according to the owner.