Preventing coronavirus infection in Berlin – frequently asked questions
The Berlin Senate Department for Health provides constantly updated information on how to deal with coronavirus.
As of: June 9, 2021
- Contacts, maximum number of persons, and free-time
- Schools, daycare centers and colleges
- Home office, work and mandatory testing
- Businesses: shopping, services and mandatory testing
- Compulsory wearing of masks
- Travel, quarantine and Corona testing
- Rapid and self-tests
- Finding out if you have Corona in suspected cases and quarantine
- Coronavirus and mutations
Contacts, maximum number of persons, and free-time
According to current knowledge, fully vaccinated and recovered persons can probably neither become infected with the coronavirus nor transmit the virus. Therefore, as far as possible, these people will regain the basic rights that are currently restricted due to the pandemic. In addition, they will be placed on an equal footing with those who have been tested when it comes to access to facilities or services.This affects three areas:
- Contacts and visits
- Equality with those tested
- Quarantine requirements in certain cases
Recovered and vaccinated persons are put on an equal footing with tested persons where a negative test result is a prerequisite. They are subject to waivers and exemptions where contacts at gatherings or outdoor stays are restricted and are exempt from quarantine under certain conditions.
The waivers and exemptions do not apply if the person is infected with coronavirus or if there are symptoms. All other regulations to combat the Corona pandemic – such as wearing a mask and keeping a distance – must continue to be observed.
You can find out more about vaccination on our page dedicated to this topic.
Only those people who have been fully vaccinated are included in this group, i.e. a person in possession of a vaccination certificate confirming that he or she has already received all the vaccinations against the coronavirus. At least 14 days must have passed since the last vaccination.
A person is considered to have recovered if he or she has been infected with the coronavirus, but the infection occurred more than 28 days and not more than six months ago, and is in possession of a certificate of recovery. Based on current knowledge, it is assumed that immunological protection lasts for at least six months after the infection has been overcome.
Those who have already been infected with coronavirus more than six months ago, only need a single dose of vaccine to restore their immunological protection. If 14 days have passed since vaccination, waivers and exemptions from individual corona measures apply to these individuals as well.
You have to prove that this was the case. You must be able to show that you have recovered or have been fully vaccinated upon request.
The waivers and exemptions do not apply if you are infected with the coronavirus or if you have symptoms.
You can find out more about vaccination on our page dedicated to this topic.
The vaccination certificate or a replacement certificate issued by the vaccination center or the doctor providing the vaccination serves as proof of vaccination.
Proof for recovered persons is a positive PCR test, which is at least 28 days, but not more than six months old. The certificate from the health department is the standard certificate. In the case of digital proof, the date, time, name of the person tested and the test center performing the test must be identifiable. If the PCR test is older than six months, the waivers and exemptions only apply if one vaccination with one or more vaccines on the list published by the Paul Ehrlich Institute can also be proven.
The waivers and exemptions do not apply if there is a coronavirus infection or there are symptoms.
You can find out more about vaccination on our page dedicated to this topic.
The following limits apply for private meetings:
- In public spaces outdoors, only meetings of a maximum of ten people from a maximum of five households are currently allowed. Children under 14 as well as vaccinated and recovered persons are not included.
- At home in enclosed spaces, a maximum of six people from three households may meet at the same time. Children under 14 and vaccinated or recovered persons are not included in this rule.
Before meeting people from outside your household, take a rapid test to make sure that you are not infected with the coronavirus. Several test centers throughout Berlin offer free tests. Self-tests can also be used.
Exceptions to contact restrictions can be found in Section 2(4) of the Berlin Infection Protection Measures Ordinance.
No. The strict nighttime curfew restrictions have been lifted.
According to Section 28b of the Infection Protection Act, the local nighttime curfew only takes effect if the seven-day incidence in a district or city exceeds the threshold of 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants for three consecutive days. This is not currently the case in Berlin.
Events are still subject to restrictions on the maximum number of participants who may be present at the same time:For indoor events:
- Private meetings of a maximum of three households with up to six people are permitted. Your own children under 14 years of age and vaccinated or recovered persons are excluded from this rule.
- Up to 50 people may gather for special private celebrations. These include, for example, weddings, birthdays, baptisms and funerals. If more than ten people attend, testing is mandatory, with the exception of those who have been fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from a Covid 19 infection.
- For all other events: no more than 100 people. If more than ten people take part in an event, testing is mandatory except for fully vaccinated and recovered persons.
- For private events: Meetings of ten people from up to five households are allowed. H Children under the age of 14 as well as fully vaccinated or recovered persons are not included in this rule.
- At important private events – such as birthday parties, baptisms and funerals – up to 50 people are allowed. If more than ten people attend, testing is mandatory. Fully recovered and vaccinated persons are exempt from this rule.
- For all other events: No more than 500 people. Testing is generally mandatory for parties with 250 or more people.
The organizers must as a rule draft a hygiene and protection plan for their event that shows how the minimum distance will be maintained and must keep a record of all those who were present.
In a private setting, such a plan must also be drawn up for outdoor events with more than 20 people present at the same time. Private gatherings do not require a protection and hygiene plan.
Cultural and recreational events may again be held, subject to conditions. For open-air events, for example, an upper limit of 500 persons at the same time applies with arranged seating. Events in enclosed spaces may be held with up to 100 people. If there is a ventilation system, up to 250 people can also participate in such an event.
Special private events, such as funeral services, birthday parties or weddings, may be held with up to 50 people.
In the case of outdoor events, testing is mandatory for groups of 250 persons or more, and for groups of eleven or more indoors. Fully vaccinated and recovered persons are exempt from the testing obligation.
Assemblies, such as protests or rallies, may take place with no limit on the number of participants. During assemblies outdoors as well as in enclosed spaces medical masks must be worn. Participants in motorcades are only exempt from the obligation to wear a medical mask if they are alone or with members of their own household in the vehicle. Car drivers do not have to wear a mask.
Only persons who have a current negative test result for coronavirus infection or have proof of a complete Corona vaccination or recovery from infection with the coronavirus may take part in assemblies in enclosed spaces with more than five people present at the same time.
The respective organizers of the assemblies are furthermore responsible for ensuring that minimum distances are adhered to and that the hygiene rules are observed. They must be able to demonstrate this in a hygiene and protection plan. The participants in a demonstration do not need to be documented.
Yes, religious services and other religious-cultural events are permitted. A hygiene concept that complies with the hygiene framework concept of the Senate Department for Culture must be implemented to protect the participants. Accordingly, religious services should not last longer than 60 minutes. Furthermore, it must be ensured that the minimum distance of 1.5 meters to other people is maintained and that the obligation to wear masks in enclosed spaces is observed during the entire service. The wearing of a medical face mask is compulsory.
If a religious service or similar event with more than 10 participants is planned without the religious community having established a hygiene concept that complies with the requirements of the cultural administration, the event must be reported to the respective public order authority at least two working days before it is due to be held.
Congregational singing is permitted indoors if the service does not exceed 60 minutes and the congregational singing does not exceed 15 minutes. In this case, the distance between participants must be at least 3 meters in all directions.
Attendance lists must be kept so that contacts can be traced quickly in case of infection. Registration is required for gatherings where a large crowd is expected.
The two zoos, Zoological Garten and Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde as well as the Aquarium are allowed to open to the public subject to conditions. The same applies to the Botanical Garden.
Please find out before your visit which areas of the respective facilities are open and under which conditions they may be entered. In enclosed spaces, it is mandatory to wear an FFP2 mask or comparable face protection. Outdoors, visitors must wear at least a medical face mask.
Yes. Museums, memorials and similar private and public cultural and educational institutions as well as libraries may open to the public. However, you must wear an FFP2 mask at all times.
Sports activities are possible to a limited extent. Fitness studios, dance studios and similar facilities may be attended after booking an appointment and upon presentation of a negative test result.
- Indoors, groups of no more than ten people from no more than five households may exercise together, subject to distance and hygiene rules. All participants must be tested negative for coronavirus.
- Outdoors, groups are allowed to exercise together with no limit on the number of people. For adults, testing is mandatory.
- Children’s training for children up to and including 14 years of age may take place in fixed groups with a maximum of 20 persons. The supervisor does not count and must have a negative test.
Organizers must ensure that the hygiene and infection protection standards set by the Senate Departments of Sports and Commerce are met. In addition, they must prepare attendance documentation.
Outdoor and summer swimming pools can reopen subject to conditions. Each pool must have a specific hygiene and usage concept and approval from the health authorities. Visitors don’t need a current negative Corona test result but tickets for a specific time slot must be purchased in advance online. For more information on which pools are open and what rules apply, visit the Berliner Bäderbetriebe page.
The indoor pools will remain closed.
The Senate Health Administration has issued the Care Measures Covid 19 Ordinance. This restricts the visiting time of persons in the indoor areas of care facilities to once a day, for two hours, by one person. In outdoor areas, two persons are allowed to visit for two hours. Visitors up to 12 years of age can be accompanied by one person. The same applies to visitors who require someone to accompany them at all times. The visit may be received in the patient’s own room. It is a prerequisite that the visitors do not have a respiratory infection and that they have a negative Corona test, which must not be older than 24 hours. In addition, an FFP2 mask without an exhalation valve must be worn during the entire stay.
If a Corona case occurs in a nursing home, visitation rights may be further restricted by the management.
There are no restrictions, for example, on visiting seriously ill and dying people.
The Senate Health Administration has issued a Hospital-Covid-19 Ordinance. This limits the visiting hours of patients to once a day, for one hour, by one person. The visitor must not show any Covid-19 symptoms. There are no restrictions on, for example, visiting seriously ill and dying people and visiting children under the age of 16. In addition, pastoral visits and visits by notaries and similar officials are always possible. By carrying out a risk assessment, the management of a hospital can decide on further restrictions of visiting rights. Patients and visitors must wear an FFP2 or equivalent mask during visits.
Someone giving birth may be accompanied by one person.
Yes, amongst others, people in positions of authority in service companies, stores, museums or managing events must document the participants or attendees. This applies regardless of whether events are held indoors or outdoors. Attendance can be documented using digital applications such as the Corona-Warn-App or the Luca-App provided that visitors and customers continue to be offered an analog alternative.
This documentation makes it possible to quickly contact those who may have been infected if someone who was at the event tests positive for the coronavirus. This record must contain the attendee’s full name, telephone number, area or district of the place of residence or permanent residence (not required when attendance is documented in digital form), address and email address, if available, and the time present at the event.
The information provided must be true; if not, a fine can be imposed. In addition, the person can be refused entry.
You can find the provisions for documenting attendance as well as exceptions in the Ordinance under Section 5.
Schools, daycare centers and colleges
Berlin schools are back to regular teaching with full classes until the summer vacations. However, compulsory attendance continues to be suspended.
It is compulsory to wear a medical mask in the entire school building – also in class. Masks can be taken off in the school yard. Furthermore, all pupils will also be required to take two tests a week. The tests will be held at the school. Pupils will receive the tests from their school. The testing requirement does not apply to fully vaccinated or recovered persons.
The usual after-school care will be offered again. During the summer vacations, primary level students can have vacation care.
You can find more information about the school opening on the webpages of the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family.
Yes, currently the daycare centers offer limited regular operation. This means that all children receive a care offer of at least 7 hours per day. Care is provided in fixed groups. In addition, each daycare center provides care for at least one group on the basis of the all-day voucher. Children with cold symptoms are only cared for if they can present a current negative Corona test or proof of recovery.
All employees who have contact with children are required to be tested for the coronavirus twice a week.
A return to regular care provision will take place in all daycare centers no later than June 21, 2021.
For more information on emergency care operations in daycare centers, please visit the website of the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family Affairs.
Eligibility for children’s sick pay for working parents during the Corona crisis has been extended retroactively to January 5, 2021. Each parent is now entitled to 30 days per child, and single parents are entitled to 60 days. If there are several children, each parent is entitled to a maximum of 65 working days in total; single parents can claim a maximum of 130 working days. A new feature is that if daycare centers or schools are closed due to a pandemic, this entitlement also applies in cases where the child is not ill. Parents who work in their home office are also eligible. The provision applies to children under 12 years of age; no age limit applies to children with disabilities.
For more information on children’s sick days and children’s sick pay, visit the website of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
The summer semester 2021 is taking place digitally.
More presence on campus is possible again due to hygiene concepts and testing strategies. University libraries can open for lending in person and PC pools, workstations and laboratories can also be used again. Practical formats can be conducted in small groups of up to 25 people.
As of June 18, the universities will further increase the proportion of face-to-face teaching and learning; in addition to practical formats, it will then also be possible to hold further courses and examinations face-to-face. In addition, the dining halls of the Studierendenwerk Berlin will be able to gradually resume their operations in June and initially offer meals for pick-up.
These steps are set out in a joint paper by the Senate Chancellery – Science and Research and Berlin’s universities.
Current information on Corona measures at universities and research institutions can also be found on the special webpage of the Senate Chancellery – Science and Research.
Home office, work and mandatory testing
Yes. In the case of office work or similar activities, employers must allow home office or teleworking unless there are absolutely necessary work-related reasons not to do so. This is regulated by the Infection Protection Act of the Federal Government.
For more information visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Labor.
In principle, you must accept the offer to work from home if there are no reasons not to. This is regulated by the Federal Infection Protection Act. Reasons not to work at home include, for example, not being able to concentrate because of other people in the home office or a lack of adequate working space.
More information on the home office obligation and contact reduction in companies can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labor.
According to the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance, public and private employers in Berlin may only occupy a maximum of half of the workplaces in offices at any one time. This refers to workplaces at a company’s premises. It would therefore be possible, for example, to employ half of the workforce in home office mode and the other half in the company’s premises. Another possibility is to reduce the presence in the company’s office by means of shift work or alternating presence. Other methods could also be possible.
Activities that must be performed at the workplace itself for compelling reasons are excluded – for example, due to necessary customer or patient contact associated with the activity, the answering of emergency calls or incidents, for monitoring operational systems, for the functioning of the administration of justice, the prison system, the core tasks of public administration, and for vocational training in accordance with Section 1 BBiG.
For more information on the regulations, please visit the page of the Senate Department for Integration, Labor and Social Affairs.
Employers are obliged to offer all employees working at least sometimes on site a free rapid test or self-test twice a week at their workplace. Employees who are only present at their workplace one day per week may only be offered a test for this day. The purpose of the regulation is not to make employees go to the workplace to take advantage of the test offer. Employees who have direct contact with customers, for example in the area of body-related services, are obliged to take advantage of this offer. In these cases, evidence and test results must be retained for four weeks.
The following requirements apply for the exemption from mandatory testing to take effect:
- The employee has been fully vaccinated (both doses), with the last required vaccination having taken place at least 14 days previously.
- The employee has recovered from a recent Covid 19 infection, with the Corona infection having occurred at least 28 days and no more than six months previously.
- The employee recovered from a Covid 19 illness more the six months ago, and has also received at least one vaccination against coronavirus, which took place at least 14 days ago.
If you have physical contact with customers or other people during your work, you are required to take a Corona rapid or self-test at least twice a week. Your employer must offer you such a test as part of its individual protection and hygiene concept and issue you with a certificate of the test result if you wish. For self-employed persons who have physical contact with customers or other people, this obligation also applies. Regardless of your type of employment, proof of testing must be kept for a period of four weeks.
The testing requirement will no longer applies to the following employees:
- Fully vaccinated (two doses) employees as of the 15th day after the last required vaccination.
- Employees who have recovered from a recent infection with coronavirus. In this case, recent means that the infection occurred at least 28 days and not more than six months previously.
- Employees who have recovered from a more recent corona infection and have received at least one vaccination
Businesses: shopping, services and mandatory testing
Retail stores may only open. Customers must wear an FFP2 mask without a valve. There is no obligation to test customers but the number of customers must be limited.
Flea markets are also allowed to take place again. Outdoors, visitors must wear a medical face mask. Indoors FFP2 masks are mandatory.
More information on which businesses are allowed to open under which conditions can be found in the information guide.
Restaurants, cafés and other eateries may may open in compliance with strict hygiene requirements. Food and drinks may only be consumed at the table. No alcohol may be sold between midnight and 5 a.m. In outdoor areas of catering establishments, groups of up to ten people from a maximum of five households may sit together at one table. Children up to 14 years of age, fully vaccinated and recovered persons are not counted. Visiting the outdoor areas of restaurants, cafés and bars and using their sanitary facilities is allowed without presenting a negative test result.
More stringent requirements apply to opening indoor areas to the public: Guests must present a current negative Corona test or proof of full vaccination protection or recovery from a Corona infection. In addition, no more than six people from no more than three households may be seated together at any one table. Anyone moving from their seat must wear a medical face mask.
Restaurant owners are required to document your presence when you consume food and beverages on site. This can be done via a digital app such as the Corona-Warn-App or the Luca-App, or using an analog method.
More information on which businesses are allowed to open under which conditions can be found in the information guide.
Hairdressers, cosmetic studios, massage practices, tattoo studios, solariums and businesses in the field of personal hygiene are allowed to open, subject to compliance with special hygiene and taking protective measures. An appointment must be made in advance. Customers are required to wear an FFP2 mask. Customers are not permitted to remain in the facility while waiting. Customers must also present a negative Corona test result that is no older than 24 hours. Alternatively, proof of a complete vaccination (two doses) or a past Covid 19 disease (at least 28 days but no longer than six months ago) must be presented. Self-tests are only valid if performed on-site under the supervision of the provider.
Practices that provide medically necessary treatments, such as physical therapy and foot-care, are allowed to open. Clients are required to wear an FFP2 mask and comply with hygiene requirements. The obligation to take a test is waived for these patients.
Visitors and customers can prove that they have tested negative for coronavirus if:
- They have a rapid antigen test performed on site.
- They perform a self-test on site and under supervision.
- They submit written or electronic evidence of a rapid test or self-test that is no more than 24 hours old. This may be a certificate from a testing center, a fee-based Corona testing site, or from a service or retail establishment that has already been visited within the last 24 hours.
- They present written or electronic proof of a PCR test that is no more than 24 hours old.
If a rapid test or self-test is performed on site, customers and visitors are entitled to receive proof of the result. A corresponding sample can be downloaded here. A negative result can be used to visit other services requiring testing on the same day.
No, but the negative test result must not be older than 24 hours.
- a positive corona PCR test that is at least 28 days and no more than six months old; or
- a positive corona PCR test that is older than six months and proof of at least one vaccination against the coronavirus that took place at least 14 days ago.
Yes, flea and antique markets are allowed to reopen. A negative Corona test result does not need to be presented when visiting, but visitors must wear a medical face mask during their stay.
Clubs, amusement arcades, casinos and betting offices are not allowed to open. These establishments are, however, allowed to offer food and beverages outdoors.
Hotels and proprietors of vacation homes and similar establishments may not offer overnight accommodation to tourists until the end of June 10. Non-tourist overnight stays – for example, as part of a family visit or a business trip – are permitted.
Saunas, steam baths, spas and similar facilities must also stay closed. Prostitution is also not allowed to be practised commercially inside or outside the premises.
More information on which businesses are allowed to open can be found in the information guide.
Compulsory wearing of masks
Pursuant to the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance, FFP2 masks are protective masks without a valve which comply with the FFP2 standard or similar standards (KN95, N95 or KF94).
The obligation to wear FFP2 masks applies to customers and visitors in retail stores, cultural establishments, libraries, medical practices and service establishments. Passengers on public transport are also required to wear an FFP2 mask. The same applies in train stations, ferry terminals and the airport. Passengers in taxis must also wear an FFP2 mask. In hospitals, the obligation to wear an FFP2 mask applies to visitors as well as to patients who receive visitors or are not in their rooms. The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask applies to visitors in care facilities.
For children up to 14 years of age, the FFP2 mask requirement does not apply. However, children between the ages of 6 and 14 are required to wear a medical face mask at the locations specified.
A complete list of all areas for which there is an obligation can be found in the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance under Section 4 and in the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance of the Federal Government.
Wearing a medical face mask is strongly recommended in all public places where the minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained – especially in shopping streets and other busy places. Medical face masks as understood in the Berlin Ordinance: are surgical masks or masks conforming to the KN95/N95 or FFP2 standards without an exhalation valve. Wearing a medical face mask is compulsory for the staff in public transport, including train stations, ferry terminals and the airport. However, FFP2 masks are compulsory for all passengers.
Medical masks must also be worn in private car journeys taken with persons from another household. Car drivers are exempt.
Pupils and teachers are also required to wear a medical face mask inside the school building. Outdoors, the mask may be removed if a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained. In addition, the wearing of a medical mask is necessary in vocational training and general adult education.
This requirement also applies during religious services, in restaurants, including outdoor areas for people who are not at their arranged seat, in office and administrative buildings, and for the staff in retail stores, in shopping centers, and in tradespersons’ premises, service, and other commercial establishments with public access. People attending outdoor cultural events must also wear a medical face mask when away from their seats.
The obligation to wear a medical mask applies to every person at demonstrations, in markets, in queues and in certain streets, places and squares in the time between 6 a.m. and midnight.
Yes, to people with low incomes, the homeless and refugees – a supply of 3.5 million masks is initially available.
If you have low income, you can contact your district authority to get masks. You are entitled to them, for example, if you receive social welfare or Hartz IV benefits or if you are studying and receive student support (Bafög). Trainees/apprentices receiving a training allowance can also make a claim. You should take proof of eligibility with you. Your local district authority will announce when and where the masks are handed out.
The State Office for Refugee Affairs carries out distribution in refugee accommodation. Homeless people receive masks in Berlin Cold Aid accommodation.
Each person can initially receive five masks free of charge.
Children up to the age of six are exempt from the mask requirement. For children and adolescents between 6 and 14 years of age, there is only an obligation to wear a medical face mask at locations where FFP2 masks are mandatory.
If you do not comply with the obligation to wear a mask, you can be fined €50 or more. Children who are age six and under, people who cannot wear a mask due to a health impairment or disability and can provide a doctor’s certificate confirming this, and people with a hearing impairment and those accompanying them are exempt from this obligation.
The mask must be worn in such a way that the mouth and nose are completely covered reducing the emission of aerosols and droplets when breathing, coughing, sneezing or speaking.
You can find the full text of the regulations on the covering the mouth and nose and medical masks under Section 4
Every large gathering holds an increased risk of infection, especially when hygiene and distancing rules are not complied with. Medical face masks were made mandatory in order to protect the public, including the protesters themselves. Organizers are required to have a protection and hygiene plan for their protest. Since the number of people participating in a given protest tends to fluctuate, additional precautions are necessary. This includes the requirement to wear a medical face mask(a surgical mask, an FFP2 mask or an equivalent mask).
Participants in motorcades are exempt from this obligation only if they are alone or with members of their own household in the vehicle. All other passengers are required to wear a medical face mask. Drivers are not required to wear a mask.
Travel, quarantine and Corona testing
Not yet. Hotels and providers of vacation apartments and similar establishments are not allowed to offer overnight stays to tourists until the end of June 10. However, non-tourist overnight stays – for example, as part of a business trip – are permitted.
From June 11, tourist overnight stays in hotels, vacation apartments and guesthouses are also possible again. You must wear an FFP2 mask when staying outside the booked room or fixed place, in the restaurant area a medical mask is sufficient. In case of Corona-typical symptoms you are not allowed to stay overnight in a hotel.
Germany’s federal government is constantly examining which countries are to be classified as risk areas. Virus variant and high incidence areas are also identified The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) publishes a list of risk, virus variant and high incidence areas which is constantly updated. If you would like to obtain further information about the current number of cases in Germany, RKI uses an “interactive dashboard”: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/478220a4c454480e823b17327b2bf1d4 to show what is happening in the German states in regard to infection rates.
In the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government, a distinction is made between entries into Germany from risk areas, high incidence areas and virus variant areas.
- Risk area: States or regions where there is currently an increased risk of infection.
- High incidence area: areas where the 7-day incidence is 200 or higher.
- Virus variant area: areas abroad where certain SARS-CoV-2 mutations are prevalent which are more infectious according to current research.
High-incidence areas and virus variant areas are also grouped together as high-risk areas. Anyone entering from one of these high-risk areas must comply with the reporting, testing, detection, and quarantine requirements. These vary in severity depending on the type of risk area.
The current risk area classifications are published by the Robert Koch Institute.
Yes, if you have been in a risk area, virus variant area or high incidence area abroad within the last ten days before entering the country or if you enter the country from abroad by air. This is regulated by the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government. Fully vaccinated and recovered persons may alternatively present appropriate proof. The test must meet the criteria of the Robert Koch Institute and must be current. Rapid tests may not be older than 48 hours (for entries from virus variant areas: 24 hours), for PCR tests the testing may be a maximum of 72 hours old. Unless you are arriving by air from a risk area, you can also take the test immediately after entry.
If you come from a high incidence or a virus variant area, you must provide proof that you are not infected with the coronavirus before entering the country.
You must keep the test result or medical certificate for at least ten days after entry and give it to the health department upon request.
More information on domestic quarantine and reporting and testing requirements can be found in the Entering from Abroad section.
Yes, the Corona Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government stipulates that if you enter Germany by air, you must take a Corona test (PCR or antigen test) before departure. This applies to the whole of Germany. If the test result is negative, you can take your flight. You must show the proof of negative test to the airline and also carry it with you when you enter the country. It should be available in German, English or French. The test must not be older than 48 hours (rapid test) or 72 hours (PCR test) at the time of entry. You have to pay for the test yourself. Fully vaccinated and recovered persons may alternatively present proof of vaccination or recovery.
If you have been in a risk area in the last 10 days before entering Berlin, you are subject to reporting, testing, detection and quarantine obligations, if applicable. The basis for this is the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government and the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance of the State of Berlin.
- If you enter from a risk area you must, as a matter of principle, register using the digital entry form. The data therein will be encrypted and forwarded directly to your local health department. If it is impossible for you to fill out the digital entry form, you can also print out a hand-written form instead and submit the completed form to the airline/other transporter or the relevant authority upon request.
- If you are entering from a risk area, you are also required to be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus before or immediately after entry. An antigen test must have been performed no earlier than 48 hours before entry, in the case of a PCR test, up to 72 hours are permissible. When entering the country by air, it is mandatory that the test be performed prior to entry and that the negative test result be presented to the transport operator prior to departure. For fully vaccinated and recovered persons, the testing requirement is waived upon presentation of appropriate proof. You are required to submit the test proof or the alternative proofs to the competent authorities using the entry portal.
- If you do not comply with the testing obligation until after you have entered the country,, you must immediately and directly go to your own home or other suitable accommodation and self-isolate yourself there. The quarantine obligation applies until you have transmitted the negative test result to the responsible authorities using the entry portal.
Different regulations apply to those entering from risk areas and high-risk areas. In addition, people entering from virus variant areas must observe the transport ban contained in the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government. A list of these areas is published by the Robert Koch Institute.
For more information on exceptions to quarantine, testing, and reporting requirements, see entering the country.
When you arrive in Berlin from a high-incidence area abroad, you must comply with the following obligations: the obligation to register, the obligation to test and provide proof, and the obligation to go into quarantine.
- To fulfill the obligation to register, you must fill out the digital entry form. The data stored there will be forwarded in encrypted form directly to your local health department. If it is impossible for you to fill out the digital entry form, you can also print out a hand-written form instead and submit the completed form to the airline/other transporter or the relevant authority upon request.
- Furthermore, you must present a negative Corona test for entry. An antigen rapid test is only permissible if it is taken no earlier than 48 hours prior to entry. In the case of PCR tests, the test may have been performed up to 72 hours previously. You must keep the test result for at least ten days after entry and hand it over to the relevant authority upon request. Persons who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus or have recovered from Covid 19 disease may alternatively provide proof of this.
- After your entry, you must immediately enter a ten-day period of quarantine. The quarantine obligation also applies if you initially entered the Federal Republic of Germany from another federal state. During quarantine, all contact with persons not belonging to your own household is prohibited. You can only end quarantine after five days at the earliest. The obligation to self-isolate does not apply to persons who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from a Covid 19 infection.
Different rules apply to those entering from virus variant areas and unspecified risk areas. The Robert Koch Institute publishes which areas are currently considered to be high-incidence areas.
For more information on exceptions to quarantine, testing, and reporting requirements, see entering the country.
The Federal Coronavirus Protection Ordinance currently prohibits people entering from virus variant areas. This does not apply if the people entering the country have their place of residence and right of abode in Germany.
If Berlin is your place of residence or if you have a right of residence, then the transport ban does not apply to you. However, you must comply with the obligation to register, the obligation to test and provide proof, and the quarantine obligation, i.e. you have to:
- take a Corona test before entering the country. If this is a rapid test, it must not be older than 24 hours. Alternatively, PCR tests that are not older than 72 hours are permissible.
- carry and show proof of a negative Corona test upon entry.
- fill out the digital entry form. The data stored there will be forwarded in encrypted form directly to your local health department. If it is impossible for you to fill out the digital entry form, you can also print out a hand-written form instead and submit the completed form to the airline/other transporter or the relevant authority upon request.
- immediately enter a 14-day domestic quarantine. You cannot end this early.
Other exceptions to the transportation ban can be found in the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government. The Robert Koch Institute publishes which areas are currently considered to be virus variant areas.
You have the possibility to end your home quarantine earlier after your stay in a risk area or a high incidence area. If you are entering from a risk area, the obligation to self-isolate ends when you send a negative test result via the entry portal. For this purpose, you can use the test that you took for entry. After entering from a high-incidence area, you can end the quarantine if you take a Corona test after at least five days quarantine and the result is then negative. If you are without symptoms, you can visit one of the citizens testing centers of the state of Berlin, or you can contact your general practitioner or the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians also provides information about testing in Berlin. You will have to remain in quarantine until you have the test results. If you show any symptoms, you must immediately notify your local health department and go into quarantine again.
After a stay in a virus variant area, you cannot shorten the quarantine period of 14 days.
All requirements for shortening domestic quarantine can be found in the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance under Section 4.
Yes. Unless travelers are entering from a virus variant area, those who have been vaccinated or recovered from a Covid 19 infection are completely exempt from the quarantine requirement. Further exceptions from quarantine are classified according to a tiered system. The exact classification can be found in the Ordinance under Section 22..
Exceptional cases include, for example:
- first and degree family members who are visiting their family in Berlin and who are staying for less than 72 hours or people returning to Berlin from a family visit in a risk area and who have stayed there for less than 72 hours (Section 6, paragraph 1, number 11) First-degree family members are children and parents.
- Persons entering Berlin for the purpose of visiting first- and second-degree family members and who can present a current negative coronavirus test result(Section 6, paragraph 2, number 1 b)). First and second degree family members are children, parents, grandparents and siblings.
- Border commuters who have to go to a risk area on a regular basis, for example, for work or training, and who return to their place of residence in Berlin at least once a week. The prerequisite here is that appropriate protection and hygiene concepts are adhered to (Section 6, paragraph 1, number 7).
The above exceptions to the quarantine requirement do not apply if you have been in a virus variant area in the ten days prior to entry.
The general quarantine obligation does not apply to people entering Berlin from risk areas within Germany. However, everyone is urged not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary. Tourist overnight stays are prohibited. Non-tourist overnight stays – for example, as part of a family visit or a business trip – are permitted.
Rapid and self-tests
- A PCR test searches for the genetic material of the coronavirus in the test material (deep nasopharyngeal swab). It is considered the gold standard in diagnosis for SARS-CoV-2. The analysis is complex and time-consuming and can only be performed in an appropriately equipped laboratory. The swab must be taken by trained medical personnel.
- In contrast to the PCR test, an “antigen rapid test” does not look for viral material in the test material (deep nasopharyngeal swab), but for molecules that are characteristic of the coronavirus. The swab can be performed by persons trained in swab taking. They do not necessarily have to be medical personnel. The test result is usually available after 15 to 20 minutes.
- A self-test usually works like an antigen rapid test, but any person can take the swab themselves according to the manufacturer’s instructions, a deep nasopharyngeal swab is usually not required. The test result is usually available after 15 to 20 minutes.
Furthermore, the following points should be noted:
- A positive rapid test or self-test must always be confirmed or refuted by a PCR test.
- Rapid tests and self-tests primarily detect viral material and show a positive result when the viral load in the mouth or nose is already sufficiently high.
- Each test represents only a snapshot at the time of testing and cannot predict infection status in the days or hours ahead.
Rapid tests and self-tests are for your personal protection, that of your family and the people around you.
In addition, you need a negative test result for various occasions: for example, to enter certain retail locations, to receive body-related services, or to visit cultural establishments such as museums, galleries, and memorials. If you have regular physical contact with customers or other persons in the course of your work, you are required to take two rapid or self-tests per week. Separate tests are carried out at schools, daycare centers and nursing homes.
According to the Coronavirus Test Ordinance of the Federal Government, every person with residence or regular place of stay in Germany is entitled to one free rapid antigen test per day (citizen testing) if they have no symptoms. This entitlement can be exercised at the testing centers of the Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality or the Test-to-Go sites. More detailed information can be found here: https://test-to-go.berlin/
The testing center or the Test-to-Go site issues a test certificate for each test result. If the rapid test is positive, this also results in a claim and obligation for PCR retesting.
If you do not have any symptoms that indicate an infection with the coronavirus, you can have a free rapid test done once a day (citizen testing). For this purpose, the Berlin Senate has established a number of test centers where you can get tested for free. Most of these test centers require a prior appointment booking at test-to-go.berlin.
The Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality has set up an e-mail address for complaints that you can contact if you wish to complain about one of Berlin’s testing centers. You can send tips about insufficient hygiene, improperly performed tests or incorrect information regarding telephone numbers and opening hours to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pharmacies have the option to perform rapid tests, but there is no obligation for pharmacies to do so. Whether and when the pharmacies offer rapid tests can only be found out from the staff of the respective pharmacy.
Rapid tests that you can take yourself (self-tests) can be purchased both online and at local retailers, e.g., drugstores, discount stores, pharmacies, and other vendors.
Rapid tests for self-administration as well as those performed by trained personnel are safe as long as they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These tests may only be marketed if they meet the requirements set out by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and are listed here.
Self-tests and rapid tests can detect a virus quite reliably in the phase in which the person tested is particularly infectious. However, a negative result does not necessarily rule out infection, especially if there is a low viral load or the swab was not performed correctly. False-positive results can also occur.
The basic rule is: reduce your contacts and observe whether you have symptoms. Whether you have to go into quarantine depends on whether you have been in close contact with the person who tested positive and whether you have already been fully vaccinated (two doses) against coronavirus or are considered to have recovered from a Covid 19 illness. Close contact includes contact, for example, by having a direct conversation without a mask that lasted longer than 10 minutes at a distance of less than one and a half meters. This could also include people from the same household.
In the case of a positive self-test, which was not carried out under supervision, the obligation to take a PCR test immediately also applies. Depending on the general order issued by each district, positive self-tests are subject to either the obligation or urgent recommendation to self-isolate at home. If the PCR test result is negative, isolation can be ended.
Finding out if you have Corona in suspected cases and quarantine
Since the symptoms of a cold and a corona infection are similar, please first call your family doctor. The further procedure will be discussed there. If your symptoms worsen, you can also call the medical on-call service under 116 117. The Robert Koch Institute recommends that people with respiratory symptoms, even if they only have a cold should stay at home for at least 5 days and isolate themselves there. If you have a rapid antigen test available, you can check your infection status at home.
The Senate Department for Health recommends, corresponding to the test criteria of the Robert Koch Institute, that you should get tested if …
- … you show severe symptoms typical of COVID-19
- … you had contact with someone who has a confirmed case of Covid-19, such as someone in your own household or someone identified as a contact by Germany’s contact tracing app (Corona-Warn-App) and have unexplained symptoms that indicate a disease
- …you have acute symptoms of respiratory disease and if you belong to a risk group or are in close contact with risk groups
- …you have acute symptoms of respiratory disease and had or have had contact with many people (e.g., at an event or during your work as a teacher, a trainer, or a sex worker).
- … you and people around you have acute symptoms of respiratory illness and there is a high 7-day incidence of Covid-19 in Berlin, or
- … your state of health deteriorates due to acute symptoms
As a precautionary measure, those who meet these criteria should self isolate at home and should contact their doctor or the relevant health department so their case can be evaluated. If necessary, the public health officer will make a decision, on how to proceed based on the criteria of the Robert Koch Institute.If a test is done and you are waiting for the results, please continue to self-isolate at home – at first for 14 days – and follow the general rules on hygiene.
In the case of mild symptoms, additional criteria are taken into consideration, such as belonging to a risk group or having close contact with persons from a risk group. Please contact your doctor first by telephone. Direct contact with other people should be avoided. Your doctor decides whether you need a test. Alternatively, you can also contact a special corona practice.
If your doctor decides that a test is necessary, the costs for the test will be assumed by the patient’s health insurance. People who do not have German health insurance will have to clarify with their own health insurance company whether that company will assume the costs.
The Robert Koch Institute makes separate recommendations concerning testing in nursing homes, hospitals, schools and medical practices and other institutions.
The Senate Department for Health has set up a hotline that you can reach at (030) 9028-2828. In addition, you may call the association of statutory health insurance physicians at 116117.
If you have relevant symptoms or you suspect that you could be infected with the coronavirus, you should follow the guidelines given under, “Who should get tested in the case of a suspected coronavirus infection? Your borough health office or your family doctor will then decide how to proceed. If a test is done, it might happen – depending on the severity of your respiratory symptoms – that you are sent to one of the special coronavirus screening center. If you do not have a family doctor, you can also contact a special Covid-19 practice.
Even before you have your test results, you should self-isolate at home, maintain a distance of two meters to other people, follow the rules for handwashing, and wear a medical mask, when you are in contact with others.
The Berlin districts have issued general rules to relieve the health departments from declaring a quarantine. The general rules specify who must undergo mandatory quarantine even without an order from the health department. This usually concerns close contacts, persons showing typical Covid 19 symptoms and persons who have tested positive. You can find an overview of the general rules in the twelve Berlin districts on our website under Quarantine.
The basic rule is: reduce your contacts and observe whether you have symptoms. Whether you have to go into quarantine depends on whether you have been in close contact with the person who tested positive. Close contact includes contact, for example, by having a direct conversation without a mask that lasted longer than 10 minutes at a distance of less than one and a half meters. This could also include people from the same household.
The person who tested positive must report these close contacts to their relevant public health department. The general rules issued by the districts instruct persons who test positive to inform their closer contacts themselves. Then the administrative follow-up begins. As a rule, only the close contacts that took place from two days before the onset of symptoms onwards are recorded. If you are reported as a contact person, your public health department will contact you, if necessary, and clarify whether you are a close contact person. If this is the case, a quarantine is usually imposed and you will be informed either by the relevant health department or by the person who tested positive.
If you have already found out about a positive contact – e.g. through a personal phone call – discuss together whether you had a close contact or whether this can be excluded. If you belong to a circle of close contacts, reduce your own contacts as a precautionary measure, self-quarantine and report to your public health department. If you have symptoms, please also inform the public health department. If you are a close contact person, the public health department will put you in quarantine and test you for Corona, if necessary. The self-isolation requirement does not apply to people who have recovered from a Covid 19 infection if it occurred no longer than six months ago and to fully vaccinated persons. The testing of contact persons is no longer carried out in all cases; the health department will decide on the procedure in each individual case. You will remain in quarantine for the time being even if you have tested negative, as the result is only momentary.
You can find more information on tracking contacts in diagnostics at the Robert Koch Institute.
The districts of Berlin have issued general quarantine rules. There you can also find regulations for the shortening of the quarantine. More information can be found under the heading quarantine rules of the districts.
The time symptoms take to appear varies greatly. There are some people who have been infected with corona, who have no symptoms at all. It is possible that symptoms may still develop up to 14 days after infection. More often, however, the symptoms appear earlyier after infection, on average between 5-6 days.
A doctor decides whether a PCR test or a rapid antigen test is to be taken in the case of a suspected coronavirus infection. In general, if the rapid test is positive, a PCR confirmation test is required to confirm the positive result.
In addition, there are other ways to check your own infection status:
- You can purchase rapid tests approved for self-testing from online retailers or discount stores.
- You can have yourself tested free of charge once a week at publicly authorized testing centers. Testing centers in Berlin can be found here: test-to-go.berlin
- You can get tested at private testing centers for a fee.
The result says that you were negative at the time of the test. But this is only momentary. It cannot be ruled out that you will be tested positive at a later date because, if you have been infected, the viral load in your body will have increased.
If you have a positive test result, you are required by the German Infection Protection Act to isolate yourself at home.
If you have been tested positive for coronavirus, there are additional responsibilities for you depending on the type of test:
- You have privately taken an antigen self-test and tested positive: In this situation, you are obligated to have the test result verified immediately by taking a PCR test. In addition, you should avoid all contacts with people as a precaution until the result of the test.
- You have received a positive result following a rapid test or self-test taken under supervision: You are now subject to both an obligation to self-isolate and an obligation to take a PCR test for confirmation. You may only leave self-isolation to take the PCR test. If this is negative, you are no longer required to isolate yourself.
- You have tested positive by PCR test: In this case, you must immediately isolate at home.
The obligation to isolate at home always lasts for fourteen days, unless the relevant health department decides otherwise. If the PCR test result is positive, you may only leave isolation if a further test shows a negative result after 14 days at the earliest.
During self-isolation also avoid contact at home if you live together with other people. Inform those with whom you had close contact two days before the onset of symptoms and afterwards. You must also report any close contact to your local health department. As a rule, only those close contacts you had two days before the onset of symptoms and afterwards are recorded. You will make the work of the health department easier if you provide the full name, phone number and e-mail or postal address of the contacts. It is recommended that you provide at least the postcode so that the relevant health department can be contacted.
The districts of Berlin have issued general quarantine rules. More information can be found under the heading quarantine rules of the districts.
No one knows exactly. It is currently assumed that you are highly infectious one or two days before the onset of symptoms and that you can be infectious until at least ten days after the onset of symptoms. However, when the time when symptoms appear after infection varies greatly and can last up to 14 days. If people experience a severe form of the disease, they may be infectious for longer.
For persons who have tested positive but who are not sure when they became infected, the day of testing is taken as the reference day and the period lasting from two days before testing to ten days after is taken as the possible time of infection. In symptom-free individuals who have tested positive and know when they were infected, the reference point for the infectious period is the third day after this contact.
In the case of a corona infection, a certificate of incapacity to work is issued by the doctor and must be sent to your employer. In the case of a positive test without any symptoms orand signs of the disease, the quarantine will be ordered by the relevant health department and your certificate must also be submitted to your employer.
Coronavirus and mutations
The coronavirus – also known as SARS-CoV-2 – causes COVID-19 disease and can infect both animals and humans. The symptoms caused by the virus may range in severity from a sore throat to a mild cold to a severe respiratory ailment. Not everyone who is infected will develop symptoms. There is currently no complete consensus among researchers on the symptoms. According to the Robert Koch Institute, frequent symptoms found in conjunction with a coronavirus infection are a cough, fever, a runny nose, loss of the sense of taste and/or smell as well as respiratory problems..
Charité Berlin has developed a browser-based coronavirus app that will help you decide whether or not your symptoms indicate a coronavirus infection, before you call a screening center.
Mutations are changes in the genetic material of the coronavirus. They are a completely natural and common process that occurs constantly during virus replication. As a result, over time, many different variants of the virus come into existence. Viral mutations can become dangerous when they give rise to or cause:
- more severe course of the disease after viral infection,
- higher transmissibility, i.e. the easier spread of the virus,
- impaired immune response, i.e. greater likelihood of reinfection after recovery from infection or after vaccination.
For more information and recommendations on the new SARS-CoV-2 virus variants please visit the Robert Koch Institute site.
Four variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in Berlin: Alpha (B.1.1.7), which was first detected in the United Kingdom, the mutation Beta (B.1.315) notified initially by South Africa, the variant Gamma (P.1), which was first detected in Brazil and the virus variant Delta/Kappa (B.1.617), which was first registered in India.
Alpha is now the dominant variant in Berlin (as well as in Germany as a whole and many other countries). Higher transmissibility was detected in the case of Alpha and there are indications that the disease follows a more severe course. Variant Beta is also thought to have a higher rate of transmissibility. The rate of spread of these and other virus variants is also being monitored by laboratories in Berlin. The spread of Gamma is extremely low in Berlin, as is the spread of the variant Delta/Kappa, which is currently being intensively observed and investigated internationally.
For more information and recommendations on the new SARS-CoV-2 virus variants please visit the Robert Koch Institute site.
In order to detect the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants in the population, special laboratory tests are used to regularly analyze a number of PCR-positive samples for changes in viral genetic material. Whole genome sequencing is a very complex procedure that allows the identification of already known viral variants as well as the detection of new mutations.
Variant-specific PCR testing can identify already known viral mutations more quickly and easily. The federal Coronavirus Testing Ordinance and Coronavirus Surveillance Ordinance provide the legal framework supporting these procedures. The Senate Department for Health and the health departments are in close contact with the Berlin laboratories to monitor the incidence of infection.
Follow the general recommendations for hygiene that also apply to influenza viruses, for instance:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Do not sneeze or cough into your hands; rather, cover your mouth with the crook of your arm
- Try not to touch your face with your hands
- Avoid shaking hands
- Maintain distance to anyone who is ill
- Air rooms frequently
Also try to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from other people. If you cannot do this, please wear a mask. FFP2 masks offer special protection when used correctly.
It is also recommended to keep your own contact diary.
If you are in quarantine in your own home because of a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case, please comply with the Federal Ministry of the Environment’s guidelines on the safe disposal of waste.
If you test positive for corona, your own individual contact diary will help you to easily keep track of the people you have been in contact with in the past few days. This means that contacts can be quickly traced and you don’t forget who you’ve been in contact with. You also help the health authorities.
You should make a note of contact with people that are out of the ordinary – not dinner with your family but dinner with someone else. Make a note of the date, the contact/s, the place, the approximate time and duration of the time spent together, the situation, as well as room-specific and protection and hygiene conditions (indoors with a mask, indoors without a mask or outdoors without a mask). It is also advisable to note whether the room was rather crowded or whether social distancing was possible.
You can use the federal government’s Corona warning app, your smartphone or simply a blank sheet of paper for your contact diary. You can document private meeting using the Luca app.
The following are the contents of the right sidebar
Suspect you have symptoms? Call: