Content

Measures against the corona virus

30.11.2020

The Senate has adopted the following measures to contain the coronavirus:

General rules of conduct and hygiene

Starting immediately, all residents of Berlin must follow general rules of conduct and hygiene. Everyone is urgently required to reduce physical social contact with people from outside the home to the absolute minimum. People should only leave their own home for important reasons – for example, to go shopping, to do sports or to work. All Berliners are also urgently advised to avoid travel.

If possible and reasonable to do so, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is to be maintained from all persons who do not belong to your own household. This is especially important for people with typical Covid-19 symptoms (Link to https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/measures/suspect-you-have-symptoms/). Exceptions are made for spouses and life partners as well as persons for whom you have custody or access rights. Deviating from the minimum distance is permissible if a general hygiene policy of the relevant Senate Department allows it as an exception and other measures are in place to protect against infection.

Strict contact restrictions apply in public and private spaces until the end of December 22, 2020. You can only be there alone, with members of your own household and persons from one other household. There is also a limit of five persons present at the same time. Children up to 12 years are not included.

In addition, the Berlin Senate strongly recommends that the mouth and nose be covered in some way at all times. This covering can include simple surgical masks, homemade/home-sewn fabric masks (community masks), or scarves and shawls that cover the wearer’s mouth and nose. This recommendation applies in public places and especially when you are coming into contact with persons who are at particular risk.

You are required to wear a mask or otherwise cover your mouth and nose in the following locations:

  • In retail stores, supermarkets, shopping malls and shops
  • At markets (weekly markets,etc.) in parking lots, in queues and on sidewalks in front of buildings with retail stores or service providers or small businesses
  • In busy streets – such as Bergmannstrasse and Kurfürstendamm – as well as in certain busy public squares – such as Alexanderplatz. To the overview of all areas where masks are mandatory. This obligation to wear masks does not apply to cyclists
  • In all secondary and vocational schools on the entire school premises. In all other schools there is an obligation to wear a mask except during class or when participating in extracurricular and supplementary support and supervision
  • In school grades 5 and 6 also during lessons in districts with more than 200 new infections per 100 000 inhabitants
  • In office and administrative buildings – this applies to both employees and visitors if the minimum distance cannot be safely maintained. This obligation does not apply to employees when they are in their normal place of work.
  • On local public transport
  • At railway stations
  • At airports
  • In commercial enterprises
  • In medical practices
  • In hospitals and nursing homes
  • In taxis and on private journeys with persons from another household.
  • In indoor sports facilities (but not while you are exercising)
  • In lifts
  • At demonstrations with more than 20 participants

The mask must be worn in such a way that the mouth and nose are completely covered preventing the emission of aerosols and droplets. In addition, the type of material used must be able to prevent the spread of droplets and aerosols.

Anyone who does not comply with the obligation to cover their mouth and nose risks a fine.

Assemblies and religious events

Public assemblies may take place outdoors and in enclosed spaces without limitation of the number of participants, provided that the applicable hygiene and social distancing rules are obeyed. Singing together in enclosed spaces is only permitted if the hygiene and infection protection standards laid down in the framework hygiene plan of the responsible Senate Department of Culture and Europe are observed. In addition, participants must maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from persons from other households. The person in charge of the assembly must make sure that the assembly does not have more people in attendance than what is permitted according to the usable area of the place of assembly. Furthermore, organizers must draw up a hygiene plan that ensures compliance with the social distancing and hygiene rules.

Worship services and sectarian/religious events held outdoors and in enclosed spaces are permitted with an unlimited number of people. It is required that the minimum distances between all participants are maintained and the general hygiene guidelines are observed.

Public and private events

Events that belong to the culture, entertainment or leisure sector – such as concerts, operas, theater performances and dance events – are generally not permitted until the end of December 22, 2020.

Public events in enclosed spaces may only be held with no more than 50 persons until the end of December 22, 2020.

Outdoor public events may take place with a maximum of 100 persons.

Private meetings are permitted with a maximum of five persons from a maximum of two households. Children up to 12 years are not included in the maximum number of people allowed.

For funerals and related events, the permitted number increases to 20 persons in enclosed spaces and 50 persons outside.

It remains a requirement for permission for all of these events that the organizers ensure compliance with the current social distancing and hygiene rules

At private and public events, the organizers must create an attendance list in which the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all participants are recorded. The list must be retained for four weeks and handed over to the competent authority on request if one of the participants was infected at the time of participation. Organizers of permitted public events and organizers of private events with more than 20 participants are also obliged to draw up a safety and hygiene plan.

With regard to the rules governing events and gatherings of people, there are additional exceptions for the meetings of the German Bundestag and its committees, the Bundesrat and its committees, the House of Representatives and its committees, the federal government, the Berlin Senate, the Constitutional Court of Berlin, and the borough assemblies and their committees, as well as the diplomatic missions, the courts, the bodies and authorities of the federal government and the German states, and other bodies and institutions that perform public-sector tasks.

Cultural institutions

Open-air cinemas, drive-in cinemas, indoor cinemas, trade fairs, museums and memorial sites must remain closed to the public. The same applies to amusement arcades, casinos, betting shops and similar places.

Libraries are permitted to lend. Library users must wear a mask or otherwise cover their mouth and nose.

Discos, clubs, and similar establishments and places of entertainment must remain closed. Dance events may not be held in restaurants.

Restaurants, bars, and hotels

Restaurants may not open to the public. However, offering food and beverages for collection and delivery remains permitted. Customers are obliged to wear a face mask when picking up orders at the premises and while waiting in queues. In addition, sellers must take suitable precautions to regulate the sales process and in particular to ensure compliance with distance and hygiene rules

In the time between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. it is forbidden to serve, dispense and sell alcoholic beverages. This regulation applies until the end of December 22, 2020.

Hotels and proprietors of vacation homes and similar establishments may not offer overnight stays to tourists.

Retail

If shops are open, they must take precautions to ensure hygiene, control access, and prevent lines from forming. Shopping malls and department stores may also open if they adhere to the guidelines for hygiene, but anything that encourages customers to remain longer than required should be avoided and such areas and facilities should be cordoned off if necessary. Visitors must wear a mask or other covering over their mouth and nose. Operators and owners of retail establishments are required to draw up a safety and hygiene plan and to submit it to the competent authority on request. In addition, notices indicating the applicable rules must be posted in a clearly visible manner. When deciding the permitted number of persons, the 10 square meters per visitor guideline must be observed. For stores, sales outlets, shopping centers and department stores with more than 800 square meters of sales area, the following applies: for areas exceeding 800 square meters, the standard measure of 20 square meters per visitor must be observed.

The serving, dispensing and sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in retail outlets of all kinds. This regulation applies until the end of December 22, 2020.

Sport and leisure

Sports activities are only permitted to a limited extent. Fitness studios, dance studios and similar facilities must remain closed until the end of December 22, 2020.

Contact-free sports are only permitted alone, with members of your own household, your spouse or life partner or with one person from another household, provided the minimum distance is observed.

This restriction on contact during sports does not apply to children up to 12 years of age, provided that they train outdoors in fixed groups. In this case, the group may have up to 10 participants plus one supervising person. Federal and State team athletes, athletes in professional leagues and professional athletes are also exempt from the contact restriction.

Sporting competitions in the Bundesliga, international leagues and comparable competition systems are permitted, provided a usage and hygiene concept is established by the respective sports association. Spectators are not permitted.

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools may only be opened for use by Federal and State team athletes and for sports teaching in schools or during vocational training. Open-air swimming pools and outdoor beaches must remain closed.

The zoos may open. However, distance and hygiene rules still apply. The aquarium and the animal enclosures remain closed.

Schools, daycare centers, and higher education institutions

Schools have been operating normally since the end of the summer holidays. Berlin pupils have therefore been taught their weekly timetable without interruption from the beginning of the school year 2020/2021. In general, school attendance is compulsory.

Schools can switch to hybrid teaching with a mixture of classroom teaching and instructed teaching at home in grades 8 and 11 at integrated secondary schools and community schools and in grades 8 and 9 at general secondary schools, provided that the Berlin-wide incidence exceeds 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Final-year examination grades are excluded from this regulation.

Students who have an underlying condition that puts them at increased risk of severe illness if they should contract COVID-19 (i.e., members of an at-risk group) need to show a doctor’s note confirming their status. These students will do their classwork at home until further notice. This also applies to students who live in the same household with someone who is at special risk.

When not in class, teachers, students, other school staff, and visitors must cover their mouth and nose if they are indoors.

From December 7, 2020, masks will also be compulsory in grades 5 and 6 during lessons in schools located in districts with an incidence of more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

School trips will not take place

Since June 22, all children have been receiving care that corresponds to their individual daycare center vouchers.

Teaching at public, private, and denominationally affiliated institutions of higher education in Berlin will only be carried out digitally until March 31, 2021. Practical exercises, examinations, and certain teaching events for the introduction of first-year students may take place as long as the applicable hygiene and social distancing rules are observed. Records must be kept of those who participate.

Quarantine and reporting obligations for those entering the state of Berlin

Quarantine and reporting obligations apply to persons who have been in a risk area within the last 10 days prior to their arrival in the state of Berlin. The list of current risk areas is published by the Robert Koch Institute.

View the current list of risk areas

Immediately upon entry, the aforementioned persons who have entered Berlin must proceed directly to their own apartment or house or other suitable accommodation and stay there constantly for a period of 10 days after entry. During this quarantine period, all contact with persons who are not part of your household must be strictly avoided.

In addition, people returning to or entering Berlin after having been in a high-risk area must contact their borough health office without delay to report their arrival.

There are exceptions to the quarantine for travelers returning from a risk area if they can present a medical certificate and a current laboratory report in German, English or French confirming that there are no indications of coronavirus infection. However, this only applies if epidemiological precautions have been taken in the respective risk area on the basis of an agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and other governments. If the German Foreign Office has announced a travel warning for a risk area, this exception from the quarantine obligation does not apply. The test documents must be kept for at least ten days and must be presented to the responsible authority immediately upon request. The certificate must refer to a molecular biological test that meets the criteria of the Robert Koch Institute (link to https://www.rki.de/covid-19-tests) and must have been carried out no more than 48 hours before, or immediately upon, entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.

Persons visiting first or second degree relatives, spouses, life partners or persons for whom there is a joint or shared right of custody or visitation are also exempted from quarantine. Visits for urgent medical treatment are also exempt as are commuters and persons in transit.

In addition, there are further exceptions for essential business visits as well as for the maintenance of critical infrastructure; health care, public security and governing institutions. However, curfews and hygiene concepts must also be observed.

For all these exceptions, there remains an obligation to report the information required to the authority responsible.

Visiting arrangements in hospitals

In hospitals and clinics, the basic obligation to wear a face mask applies to both visitors and patients when they are receiving visitors.

Persons who show typical Covid-19 symptoms according to the current criteria of the Robert Koch Institute are not allowed to visit patients in hospitals.

Patients may be visited once a day by one person for one hour. The same applies to newborn babies and their mothers, whereby siblings under 16 years of age may accompany the visiting person.

Persons under 16 years of age, seriously ill and dying patients may generally be visited without restriction.

There are no restrictions on visiting rights for persons entrusted with pastoral care, notarizing officials and the necessary persons for legally required questionings.

More far-reaching restrictions such as a complete ban on visits may apply in individual hospitals or wards. This decision is the responsibility of the respective hospital management and must be approved by the health authority responsible.

Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes

In hospitals and nursing homes, visitors must wear a mask or other covering over the mouth and nose. The same applies to patients and residents if they are not in their rooms or receiving visitors.

Hospitals may carry out plannable admissions, operations, and procedures, provided that a return to crisis mode with increased capacity to treat COVID-19 patients can be implemented on short notice at any time.

Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes are required to draw up a safety and hygiene plan.

Sexual services

The provision and use of paid sexual services with physical contact is prohibited

Fines

Anyone who does not comply with the applicable rules of the ordinance is liable to receive a fine. The following is a selection of the most important fines at a glance:

  • Minimum distance of 1.5 meters not maintained: 100 to 500 euros
  • No hygiene plan prepared or submitted: 250 to 5000 euros
  • Attendance documentation not maintained: 500 to 10,000 euros
  • Incorrect or incomplete information given in the attendance documentation: 100 to 1,000 euros
  • Mask or other covering over the mouth and nose not worn: 50 to 500 euros
  • Being in public spaces between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. with persons other than those permitted: 50 to 500 euros
  • Hygiene measures described in the hygiene plan not enforced by the person organizing an event: 250 to 5,000 euros
  • Hygiene measures not enforced by a proprietor: 100 to 2,500 euros
  • Restaurant or sales outlet open between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.: 5,000 to 10,000 euros
  • Serving, dispensing or sale of alcoholic beverages between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.: 500 to 1,000 euros
  • Quarantine not observed upon entry: 1,00 to 5,000 euros
  • Visitors received during quarantine: 500 to 5,000 euros (300 to 1,000 euros for the person visiting)
  • Noncompliance with duty to report to health authorities upon entry: 500 to 2,500 euros
  • Using sexual services that are prohibited: 250 to 5,000 euros
  • Operating a prostitution facility that offers sexual services that are prohibited: 1,000 to 10,000 euros

The amount of the fine will be based on the extent of the danger caused by the violation, the offender’s contrition, whether this is a repeat offense, and the offender’s potential economic gain from the violation. In the case of repeated violations of particular rules, the fine may be as much as 25,000 euros. That applies to violations of the rules for restaurant and sports facilities and the rules prohibiting dance events and discos.

The legal basis for these rules is the Protection against Infection Act. The ordinance was promulgated on June 26, 2020, in accordance with section 2 (1) of the Berlin Promulgation Act and went into effect on June 27. The ordinance will expire at the end of the day December 22, 2020.

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