Coronavirus: Public life

Update 04.08.2022

What do I need to know?

Despite Germany's very high infection rates, many COVID-related restrictive measures have been dropped. From April 3rd, 2022, at the latest, the "basic protection" and the so-called "hotspot regulations" apply throughout Germany. State officials will decide whether to declare the region a "hotspot" and reintroduce more COVID restrictions or just implement "basic protection".

What do I need to know?

What are the "basic protection" and the so-called "hotspot regulations"?

From April 3rd, 2022, at the latest, the "basic protection" and the so-called "hotspot regulations" apply throughout Germany.

Basic Protection:

The "Basic protection" no longer includes the 3G, 2G and 2G Plus rules since the restrictive COVID measures have been relaxed. However, according to the basic protection, the general distance and hygiene measures still apply. Furthermore, you will still be required to wear a medical mask in some areas. A medical mask is a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask.

Where you have to wear a medical mask or show a negative COVID-19 test can differ from state to state. You can find a list of the federal states on the website of the federal government - there, you can read (in German) which regulations apply in your federal state.

Hotspot regulations:

State officials in each federal state decide whether to declare the region a "hotspot" and reintroduce more COVID restrictions, or just implement "basic protection" measures. A "hotspot" could be an entire federal state, city or district in which the number of COVID infections and patients in hospitals, particularly in intensive care units, is very high. The 3G, 2G and 2G-Plus rules can be reintroduced in hotspots. Check out which COVID measures currently apply in your federal state.

What specific rules currently apply?

From April 3rd, 2022, at the latest, the “basic protection” and “hotspot regulations” apply. As a result, in many areas of public life, the COVID rules will be relaxed. Only when a federal state declares the entire state or cities or districts as a hotspot could reintroduction of restrictive measures in public life be permitted.

The basic protection regulations consist of the following:

Bus & Train

There is no access restriction for public transportation. Whether passengers must wear a "medical mask" while travelling on public transportation is a decision each federal state can make independently. So-called "surgical masks" and "FFP2 masks" are considered medical masks. On many forms of public transportation, you'll need to wear an FFP2 mask. Check which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state.

Work

Employers can decide which measures to implement in their company/office. They should, however, align their decision to the infection rates in the company- and adhere to the "hotspot regulations" when they apply.

Your employer will tell you whether and where you have to wear a mask at your workplace. They also decide whether free COVID tests should be provided in the workplace. If there is no free test available in your workplace, keep in mind that you can benefit from the so-called "citizen tests" in COVID test centres, which are still available free of charge. You can learn more about COVID tests in our "Coronavirus" chapter in the section "How can I get tested for the coronavirus?".

You can find more information on Coronavirus and work in our chapter "Coronavirus: Work".

Shopping

There is no access restriction in shops, e.g., in the retail sector, supermarkets, drug stores, pharmacies and petrol stations. However, you must still keep a minimum distance of 1.50 meters from other people.

Whether passengers must wear a "medical mask" while shopping is a decision each federal state can make independently. On the website of the Federal Government there is a list of the federal states - there you can find out which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state.

Gastronomy

There is no access restriction in restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés. Whether you must wear a "medical mask" is a decision each federal state can make independently. Check which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state.

Leisure

There is no access restriction in leisure facilities like cinemas, museums, theatres, clubs, swimming pools or gyms. Whether you must wear a "medical mask" is a decision each federal state can make independently. On the website of the Federal Government, there is a list of the federal states - there you can find out which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state. On the same website, you can also read about the regulations concerning larger events.

Even if you do not have to show a negative COVID test result to enter leisure facilities, it is a good idea to take a test, especially if you are planning to go somewhere where there are lots of people. You can benefit from the so-called “citizen tests” in test centres. These tests are still available free of charge. You can learn more about COVID tests in our "Coronavirus" chapter in the section "How can I get tested for Coronavirus?".

Contact Restrictions

Currently, there are no contact restrictions. However, if your place of residence is declared a “hotspot”, then some contact restrictions may be reintroduced.

On the website of the Federal Government, there is a list of the federal states - there you can find out which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state.

Mask obligation & Distancing

You may have to wear a medical mask in closed spaces such as medical practices, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and event venues, museums, schools, when shopping, on buses and trains and in many other public places where other people are present. That is a decision each federal state can make independently. Check which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state.

If you refuse to wear a mask where it is mandatory, you may have to pay a fine. The amount of fine differs depending on the federal state. You can find out more about the amount of relevant fines at bussgeldkatalog.org.

You should generally keep a distance of at least 1.50 meters from people who do not live in your household.

Please note: The basic protection applies everywhere in Germany from April 3rd, 2022, at the latest. However, COVID rules can differ in your federal state. That depends on the respective hotspot regulations. You can visit bundesregierung.de and select your federal state to find out which rules currently apply in your place of residence (in German).

Please note: If the situation gets worse in certain places, the federal states can declare the area “hotspot” and implement respective hotspot regulations. That means 3G, 2G and 2G-Plus rules could be reintroduced in those areas.

An overview of the 3G, 2G and 2G Plus rules:

  • 3G: vaccinated, recovered or those with negative test results
  • 2G: vaccinated or recovered
  • 2G Plus: vaccinated with a negative test result or recovered with a negative test result. Only those who have received a booster jab do not need to show a negative test result when 2G Plus applies.
What rules apply to vaccinated and recovered individuals?

With the basic protection implemented, there are no special regulations for vaccinated and recovered individuals. However, if your area of residence becomes a hotspot, more rules and restrictions can be reintroduced. Then, the vaccinated and those who have recovered can enjoy more freedom as they would be exempt from some restrictive measures.

People are considered to be "vaccinated" if at least 14 days have passed since their last coronavirus vaccination (two separate doses are usually necessary. You can prove that you have been fully vaccinated with your yellow “Imfpass”, a vaccination certificate or a digital vaccination record.

People are considered to be “recovered” if the have contracted COVID-19 and recovered from a corona infection in the last six (or if unvaccinated, three) months. You have to prove your recovery with a PCR test administered at least 28 days and at the latest three months before.

The federal states are responsible for the introduction of hotspots regulations and other COVID rules and restrictions. You can learn more about the regulations in your federal state in German at bundesregierung.de- visit the website and select your federal state.

Important: Falsifying vaccination certificates or using falsified (or someone else's) vaccination records is a criminal offence. You can be punished with a fine or even a prison sentence. A conviction can also have an impact on your right of residence.

Where can I get a digital vaccination certificate?

If you are fully vaccinated, you can prove it with your yellow vaccination booklet  ("Imfpass") or the vaccination certificate issued after your vaccination, e.g. a digital vaccination certificate. After you are fully vaccinated (in principle, you need two vaccine doses for that), you can get a QR code which you can scan using your smartphone. To do so, you need either the Corona-Warn-App or the CovPass-App. Later on, you can use one of these apps as digital proof of vaccination.

If you are already fully vaccinated but have not received a QR code, you can collect the QR code from a pharmacy. Find a list of the pharmacies which can provide you with the QR code on mein-apothekenmanager.de.

Important: Without a booster jab, your status as “vaccinated” (and your digital vaccination certificate) will lose its validity nine months after the last vaccination- then you would be considered as “unvaccinated”. That means, if, for instance, you received your last vaccination on August 15, 2021, without a booster jab, your digital vaccination certificate will expire on May 15, 2022.

Which shops and facilities are currently open?

Currently, all shops and facilities, e.g., theatres, restaurants, etc., are open. All the access restrictions have been lifted since April 3, 2022.

However, the hygiene and distance rules still apply. Whether you must wear a "medical mask" or not is a decision each federal state can make independently. On the website of the Federal Government, there is a list of the federal states - there you can find out which COVID rules currently apply in your federal state (in German).

 Please note: If your region is declared a “hotspot”, then there may be more rules and restrictions you need to consider.

Can my child go to school as usual again?

Currently, all schools in Germany operate as usual. If you have any questions, you can directly contact your child’s school.

It will no longer be possible to close schools across the board. Occasionally, schools can close if they have a sizeable COVID-19 outbreak.

Whether teachers and students should get tested for COVID-19 at school is a decision made by each federal state.

The quarantine for children who test positive and children who have been in direct contact with them lasts 10 days. Infected children can leave the isolation after 7 days (at the earliest) with a negative PCR test or rapid test. Children who are considered to be “contact persons” can leave their quarantine earlier, i.e., after 5 days, with a negative corona test.

Can my child go to daycare again?

Currently, all childcare facilities operate as usual. If you have a question, you can directly contact your child’s Kita.

Are state offices open now?

Government offices are currently only open to the public for limited hours. If you have an appointment or an urgent query, check the proper offices' website or call them.

When will my language classes start again?

Get in touch with your language school directly and ask them about their opening schedule. In our chapter "Learning German", you can find plenty of helpful materials which allow you to practice online and offline.

How can I help my child to study from home?

There are several opportunities for children to find help studying online:

  • On corona-school.de, children starting from 1st grade can also find cost-free advice from university students who are working voluntarily to help school children with their homework through video chats while the schools are closed.
  • On klicksafe.de, you will also find various learning offers from public television broadcasters and various learning aid on the Internet for schoolchildren of all levels.
Are counselling centres open now?

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many counselling centres throughout Germany work at a limited capacity. In principle, you have to first call and make an appointment. You can still reach many of these centres by phone or email. Under the sections "Where can I find help?" and "Help for special target groups" on our page Local Information you will find several direct links to counselling centres' websites where you can find help with various problems.

Important

If you suspect that you are infected, contact your doctor or the local Health Department. They can tell you what to do next. Please do not go to the doctor's office before first calling them. Another option is to go to your doctors' office during the visiting hours specifically assigned to COVID patients if they have such visiting hours. You can find your local Health Department's contact details on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

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