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: January 22, 2022

Vaccination

Access rules and provision of proof

Who is included in the group of vaccinated and recovered people?

The Paul Ehrlich Institute defines the conditions under which persons are considered to be fully vaccinated. Only those people who have undergone basic immunization against the coronavirus are considered to be fully vaccinated. Regarding the vaccines approved in the EU, this means that a person has been vaccinated twice against the coronavirus. The vaccinations must be verifiable. At least 14 days must have passed since the second vaccination.

Those who have already been infected with coronavirus more than three months previously only need a single dose of vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated persons who have additionally received a booster vaccination with a time interval of three months are considered ‘boostered’.

Currently, a distinction is made between two different types of recovered status. In Berlin, persons are generally considered to be recovered if they can prove that they have been infected with the coronavirus at least 28 days previously and no more than six months ago. A positive PCR test serves as proof. This recovered status currently applies in the areas regulated by the Fourth Berlin SARS-CoV-2 Infection Control Measures Ordinance – such as the 2G and 2G Plus regulations in the cultural, retail and catering sectors.

A person is considered to have recovered within the meaning of the Infection Protection Act if he or she has recovered from an infection with the coronavirus that occurred more than 28 days and no longer than 90 days ago. This is defined by the Robert Koch Institute. This recovered status currently applies in those areas that are regulated by the Federal Infection Protection Act – such as the 3G obligations in the workplace and in public transport, as well as the regulations on entering the country.

Any waivers and exemptions for vaccinated, recovered and boostered people 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.

Who is considered to be ‘boostered’?

Currently, people are considered to be boostered if they are fully vaccinated and have already received a booster vaccination. For example, anyone who has recovered, been vaccinated, and then received a booster shot at least three months apart is also considered boostered. There is no waiting period after the booster vaccination, therefore, the boostered status applies immediately after the vaccine dose is given. The booster vaccination must also be proven using either the digital vaccination certificate or the yellow vaccination certificate in combination with photo ID.

What does the extended 2G rule mean?

In German, 2G stands for Geimpft (vaccinated) and Genesen (recovered). If the 2G rule applies, only vaccinated and recovered persons have access to the respective location. Wherever the 2G rule applies, the requirement to wear a mask is added in most cases (extended 2G rule). If the mask requirement is not practicable, either the test requirement is added instead or the requirement to maintain a minimum distance. In this case, the people in charge can usually decide which alternative rule to use.

What does the 2G Plus rule mean?

The 2G Plus rule means that, in addition to the extended 2G rule, a person also needs to take a test to take part in certain activities or events. The testing requirement does not apply to boostered persons. The 2G Plus rule applies, for example, if you want to go to a restaurant or attend an event with more than ten people present. Masks still have to be worn.

For more information on the 2G rules, see Section 9 and Section 9a of the Fourth Infection Control Measures Ordinance.

In which cases does the extended 2G rule apply?

The extended 2G rule currently applies in a large number of public places.
In enclosed spaces, the extended 2G rule is mandatory for the following events, facilities and services:

  • Outdoor events with more than 1,000 persons taking part, in which case further requirements such as the mandatory wearing of FFP2 masks applies when seated and when maintaining social distancing. The 2G Plus model is possible. In this case the minimum distance does not have to be kept.
  • Personal care services related to the body (such as hairdressers and beauty salons)
  • Retail stores including department stores and shopping malls. Supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores and similar places supplying basic needs are excluded
  • The indoor areas of museums, galleries and memorials
  • Hotels and similar accommodation
  • The indoor areas of sightseeing tours, guided tours etc.
  • Christmas markets
  • Covered sports facilities including gyms and indoor swimming pools
  • Saunas, thermal baths etc.
  • Amusement arcades, amusement parks etc.
  • Driving schools etc.
  • The indoor areas of libraries and archives
  • Sexual services, in which case further hygiene requirements apply, such as mandatory FFP2 masks or mandatory testing

The 2G model is optional in other situations such as outdoor catering. Those responsible can decide in these cases whether they want to apply the 2G model.

You can find which conditions currently apply to which areas in the information guide.

In which areas does the 2G Plus rule apply?

2G Plus applies in the following areas:

  • Indoor events with more than ten people present, not including children under 14
  • Indoor cinemas, theaters, concert halls and similar cultural facilities
  • Indoor areas of restaurants and other catering establishments

You can find which conditions currently apply to which areas in the information guide.

Which areas are exempt from the 2G rules?

Establishments providing essential products and services are exempt from the 2G model requirement. These include:

  • Retail stores selling food and beverages, tobacco products, stationery, newspapers, magazines, books and pet supplies.
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical suppliers and suppliers of aids to hearing and vision
  • Drugstores and health food stores
  • Gas stations
  • Baby stores
  • Building and garden centers as well as flower stores and commercial craftsmen’s suppliers
  • Pick-up and delivery services
  • Weekly markets
  • Bicycle and car repair shops

You can find which conditions currently apply to which areas in the information guide.

Which groups of people are exempt from the 2G rules?

Children under the age of 18 may attend 2G events and enter 2G facilities if they provide a negative test result. Since school children are regularly tested as part of their school attendance, it is sufficient for them to present their school ID. This, however, does not apply during school vacations. During this time, a current negative test result must be presented. Children under the age of 6 do not need to be tested.

People who cannot be vaccinated against the coronavirus for medical reasons and who can provide relevant proof, for example a medical certificate or maternity certificate, may participate in 2G events. However, they have to present a current negative PCR test.

What does 3G mean?

In German, 3G stands for Getestet (tested), Geimpft (vaccinated) or Genesen (recovered). Access to areas where the 3G rule applies is only permitted to people who are fully vaccinated, have recovered from a Covid-19 infection or have a current negative Corona test. The appropriate proof has to be presented. Since school pupils are regularly tested at school, they are only required to show their school ID. This does not apply during school vacations. During this time, school children must also present a current negative test result. Children under the age of six do not require proof.

In which areas does the 3G rule apply?

There is a nationwide obligation, according to the Infection Protection Act, to use the 3G model at the workplace and on local and long-distance public transport, including railway platforms and ferry terminals. This also includes domestic air travel. In both of the above cases, persons are considered to be recovered according to the definition of the Federal Infection Protection Act. This means that the positive test provided as evidence must be at least 28 days and at most 90 days old.

In the following areas, the 3G rule also applies. Currently, the recovered status lasts for six months following a Covid-19 infection: The administrative buildings and courts of the Federal State of Berlin can also only be entered under 3G conditions. This applies for example to citizens’ offices (Bürgerämter). This also includes domestic air travel. Furthermore, the 3G rule is mandatory at events, excursions, sightseeing tours and similar outdoor activities if the organizers do not decide to use the optional 2G model. The 3G rule applies to outdoor sports if it is not possible to maintain the minimum distance and the participants belong to different households.

How do I prove that I have been fully vaccinated, boostered or have recovered?

The EU digital vaccination certificate is the easiest way to provide verifiable proof of a complete vaccination or booster vaccination. It is a QR code issued by your vaccination center or by the doctor providing the vaccination. The QR code can be scanned using various apps – such as the Corona warning app or the CovPass app – and saved in your smartphone. If you did not receive a QR code when you were vaccinated you can have one created at the pharmacy. To do this, you have to present your identity card and the yellow vaccination certificate.

The website www.mein-apothekenmanager.de lists pharmacies in Berlin that generate digital proof of vaccination. Alternatively, the yellow vaccination certificate can be presented in combination with identification.

Those people who have been vaccinated outside the EU can present the corresponding proof. However, this is only recognized if the vaccine is listed as effective by the EU. The creation of a digital certificate is also possible in this case.

A positive PCR test, which is at least 28 days old and at most three months old, serves as proof of recovery. Recovered vaccinated persons can also obtain their digital proof of vaccination from the above-mentioned pharmacies.

You can find out more about vaccination on our page dedicated to this topic.

How do I get a digital vaccination certificate?

The vaccination certificate, which is valid throughout Europe, can be obtained in Germany using two different apps: the Corona warning app and the CovPass app, which was specially developed as a Corona vaccination certificate. The Luca app also offers this function.

To create your digital vaccination certificate, you need a QR code, which is scanned once by your chosen app. You can obtain the code in the following ways:

  • If you booked your vaccination appointment at a Berlin vaccination center using your Doctolib account, you will receive your certificate as a printout in your vaccination center after your second vaccination and it will be also registered in your Doctolib account.
  • If you booked your appointment using Doctolib and have only been vaccinated once, you will receive your vaccination certificate as a printout in your vaccination center after your second appointment.
  • If you booked your vaccination appointment using your Doctolib account and have not been vaccinated at all yet, you will receive your certificate as a printout in your vaccination center after your second vaccination and it will be also registered in your Doctolib account.
  • You can also contact the doctor’s practice where you were vaccinated. You can also obtain a digital vaccination certificate in numerous Berlin pharmacies if you present your analog documents (yellow vaccination certificate or separate vaccination certificate) and you can also provide proof of identity. Persons who have been vaccinated once and who have recovered from Covid 19 can also obtain a digital certificate from pharmacies. The certificate is free of charge.

The website www.mein-apothekenmanager.de lists the pharmacies in Berlin that generate digital vaccination certificates.

Do I have to create a digital vaccination certificate?

For events and services where the 2G rule or the 2G Plus rule applies, digitally verifiable proof along with photo ID is a requirement for access. If you are unwilling or unable to use an app, a printout of the QR code can also be presented as digital proof.

Contacts, maximum number of persons, and free-time

Are there any contact restrictions for private meetings?

Yes. the following applies to unvaccinated persons: Members of one household are currently only allowed to meet with up to two persons from another household. Children under the age of 14 are not counted. If, on the other hand, only vaccinated and recovered people meet, up to 10 people can gather regardless of whether they belong to one household or not. In this case, children under 14 years of age attending do not have to be vaccinated or recovered, but are included in the total number of people attending.

What do I need to be aware of for events?

The following rules apply to public events:

  • In enclosed spaces the 2G Plus rule is mandatory, if more than 10 people participate. (Children under 14 are not included in this specific case.)
  • The 3G model is mandatory outdoors if more than 10 people participate, the 2G model is also possible. If more than 1,000 people attend, there is an obligation to use the extended 2G model which means that the wearing of FFP2 masks and social distancing is required.
  • Organizers must prepare a hygiene concept and keep attendance records.
  • Events with more than 1,000 people taking part outdoors and more than 200 people indoors are prohibited unless other protective measures such as air filtration systems have been installed and the participants are required to wear FFP2 masks.
  • Participants must wear a medical mask. The mask can be removed when seated.

Private events and gatherings are subject to the general contact restrictions.

What are the restrictions and further regulations on the maximum number of participants at private events?

Private events and gatherings are subject to restrictions on the maximum number of participants who may be present at the same time. Unvaccinated persons may meet other people from their own household and a maximum of two people from another household. Children under the age of 14 are not included. Up to 10 participants are allowed at private meetings and events which are attended exclusively by vaccinated or recovered people and children under 14.
If private events are held on a commercial basis, the regulations for public events apply.

What are the restrictions and further regulations on the maximum number of participants at private events?

Private events and gatherings are subject to restrictions on the maximum number of participants who may be present at the same time. Unvaccinated persons may meet other people from their own household and a maximum of two people from another household. Children under the age of 14 are not included. Up to 10 participants are allowed at private meetings and events which are attended exclusively by vaccinated or recovered people and children under 14.
If private events are held on a commercial basis, the regulations for public events apply.

What are the rules concerning weddings?

Weddings are private events, therefore, the rules for private events apply. This means that up to ten people can gather in private rooms at the same time if they are all vaccinated or recovered. Children under 14 years of age can participate even if they are neither vaccinated nor recovered. If the celebration is organized commercially, the general rules for events apply. These differ depending on the size of the event.

It is important to note that this regulation does not refer to the marriage ceremony in the registry office, but only to any private celebrations. The registry office has the right to take health precautions to protect their registrars and to impose restrictions on the room in which the wedding ceremony takes place.

Are clubs allowed to open for parties?

No. Dance events are currently not permitted whether indoors or outdoors.

What rules apply to going to the cinema?

Showing films in enclosed spaces can only take place under 2G Plus conditions in Berlin. This means that all visitors must be vaccinated or have recovered from a Covid-19 infection and must carry appropriate proof. For persons without a booster vaccination, an additional current proof of testing must be provided. This may be waived for those with booster vaccinations. Persons who can prove that they were infected with coronavirus at least 28 days previously and no more than 3 months ago are also exempt from testing.

Children under the age of 18 may participate without 2G proof if they provide a negative test result. Since pupils are regularly tested as part of their school attendance, it is sufficient for them to present their school ID. This does not apply during school vacations. During vacation time, a current negative test result must be presented. Children under the age of 6 do not need to be tested.

Persons who cannot be vaccinated against the coronavirus for medical reasons and can prove this, for example, by means of a medical certificate or a maternity record, may also attend film screenings. However, they must present a current negative PCR test.

In addition, cinema goers must wear an FFP2 mask and must also leave it on when at their assigned seat during the film screening. Children under the age of 6 are not required to wear a mask. Children under the age of 14 are only required to wear a medical face mask.

Is it possible to visit the zoos or the botanical garden?

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. The extended 2G rule is mandatory in enclosed spaces.

Can I visit museums, galleries, and memorials?

Yes. Museums, memorials and similar private and public cultural institutions may open to the public. The extended 2G rule and the obligation to wear a mask applies in enclosed spaces.

What rules apply to outdoor sports?

The 3G model is mandatory for outdoor sports if the minimum distance is not kept. If only people from one household do sports together, the 3G obligation does not apply.

What rules apply to indoor sports?

Sports in enclosed spaces and covered sports facilities, such as fitness studios and sports halls may take place under the extended 2G rule at the discretion of the organizer either with mandatory testing or compliance with the minimum distance requirement. If the organizers choose the extended 2G testing requirement, boostered persons are not required to provide proof of testing. You also need to wear a mask, although the mask can be removed during the sporting activity.

Organizers must ensure that the hygiene and infection protection standards set by the Senate Departments of Sports and Commerce are complied with. This includes at a minimum the rules on the upper limits for persons, the testing and appointment requirements and the ventilation of rooms. In addition, they must prepare attendance documentation for indoor sports.

Are swimming pools open?

Swimming pools may open. In indoor pools, the extended 2G model is mandatory. At the Berliner Bäderbetriebe, masks are mandatory except when showering and in the swimming pool, and compliance with the minimum distance also applies.

For more information about this, visit the Berliner Bäderbetriebe page.

Can I go to the sauna or steam bath?

Saunas and spas are allowed to open. As a visitor, you must be fully vaccinated or recovered from a Covid-19 infection Steam baths may also only be opened under 2G conditions. Visitors must wear a medical mask, which they can remove when swimming or using the sauna.

What do I have to keep in mind when visiting hospitals or care facilities?

Residents of care facilities may be visited without limitation to the number of persons. The visitors must, however, not have any respiratory infections. In addition, they must provide a current negative corona test. This also applies to visitors who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. An FFP2 mask without an exhalation valve must be worn by the visitors during their stay. The mask can be removed when inside the resident’s room if everyone present has been vaccinated or has recovered from Covid-19.

If a Corona case occurs in a care home, visiting privileges may be restricted. There are no restrictions, for example, on visiting the critically ill and dying.

For more information on visitation regulations, see the Care Measures Covid-19 Ordinance.

Visitors in hospitals must wear an FFP2 mask. In addition, they must provide a negative Corona test. This also applies to visitors who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. Exceptions apply when visiting seriously ill or dying people.

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask also applies to patients when they are outside the room or receive visitors.

In doctors’ offices, patients must also wear an FFP2 mask.

Must a record be kept of the people present?

Yes, amongst others, people in positions of authority in service companies, or managing events must document the participants or attendees.

Attendance can be documented using digital applications such as 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. The documentation must enable the following information to be traceable: 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, the time present at the event, and the table number of all attendees, if applicable. The data collection does not have to take place at the location, but can already take place through the pre-sale of personalized tickets. The proof of a negative test result, vaccination or recovery from Covid 19 must also be documented if this is the access requirement. Digital apps are excluded from this requirement. The information provided must be true; if not, a fine can be imposed. In addition, the person can be refused entry. Attendance documentation must be kept for two weeks if a digital application is not used for this purpose.

You can find the provisions for documenting attendance as well as exceptions in the Fourth Infection Protection Measures Ordinance under Section 4.

Working from home and 3G obligation at the workplace

Must my employer offer me the possibility to work from home?

Yes, currently, employers are again obliged to enable employees to work from home in accordance with Section 28b of the Infection Protection Act. This means that employers must allow their employees to work remotely or from home in the case of office work or similar activities, if this does not conflict with operational concerns.

For more information on occupational health and safety, visit the website of the Senate Department for Integration, Labor and Social Affairs and the website of the Federal Ministry of Labor.

Do I have to work in a home office even if I don't want to?

In principle, you are obliged to accept your employer’s offer to work from home. There may be reasons to reject this offer, such as insufficient technical equipment in your own home. In such cases, you do not have to work from home.

For more information on occupational health and safety, visit the website of the Senate Department for Integration, Labor and Social Affairs and the website of the German Federal Ministry of Labor.

What proof do I have to provide to be allowed to go to work?

The 3G obligation applies in the workplace. This means, that employees may only come to work if they can prove that they have been fully vaccinated, have recovered or have been tested on a daily basis. Persons in this case must provide evidence of recovered status in accordance with the Infection Protection Act: The positive PCR test must be at least 28 days and no more than 90 days old. Self-tests are only permitted if they are carried out on site under the supervision of the person carrying out the check. Rapid tests must not be older than 24 hours, PCR tests are valid for 48 hours. Employers must check and document 3G evidence. Different regulations apply to employees in hospitals, nursing homes and similar establishments. This provision is based on Section 28b of the Federal Infection Protection Act.

Detailed information on workplace regulations can be found on the website of the Senate Department for Integration, Labor and Social Affairs and on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labor.

Businesses: shopping, services and mandatory testing

Do I need 2G proof to go shopping?

Yes, you must carry proof of recovery or vaccination when shopping at retail stores. This should be digitally verifiable. If you do not have a smartphone on which you can display your proof using an app (Corona warning app, CovPass or Luca app), you have the option of presenting the QR code or the yellow vaccination certificate. In addition to the 2G proof, you must also show a photo ID.

No proof is required in stores for daily needs such as supermarkets or pharmacies.

For more information on which businesses are allowed to open and under what conditions, see the accompanying notes.

https://www.berlin.de/corona/faq/#accordion_faq_1_6

What do I have to keep in mind when visiting a restaurant, café and/or bar?

Restaurants, cafés and other eateries may open in compliance with strict hygiene requirements. 2G Plus applies to indoor catering. This means that a current-day test must be presented in addition to guests having vaccination or recovered status and observing the mask requirement when they are not in their assigned seats. However, this does not apply to boostered people. The mask requirement may be waived if compliance with the minimum distance is assured.

Outdoors, the 2G rule is optional.

Find out in advance which specific regulation applies in the restaurant you want to go to. In addition, food and drinks may only be consumed at a table outdoors if the 2G rule is applied. Visiting the restroom is allowed without presenting proof of vaccination or recovery or a negative test result.

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.

What body care services can I use?

Hairdressers, cosmetic studios, massage practices, tattoo studios, solariums and businesses in the field of personal hygiene are only allowed to open under the 2G rule which includes the obligation to wear a mask (extended 2G rule). If a general obligation to wear a mask is not possible, for example for beard care, customers have to provide a negative Corona test.

Medically necessary treatments, such as physical therapy and foot-care, are exempt from the 2G rule. Clients are, however, required to wear an FFP2 mask and comply with hygiene requirements.

Sexual services are only allowed to be offered under the 2G rule. Clients must make an appointment in advance and wear an FFP2 mask at all times. The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask is waived for vaccinated or recovered customers who additionally have a current negative Corona test. Practices close to the face are not allowed.

How do I prove that I have tested negative for coronavirus?

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. Find out in advance if the establishment you are visiting offers this option.
  • 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 Corona testing site, or from the employer.
  • They present written or electronic proof of a PCR test that is no more than 48 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.

Is it mandatory to take the rapid or self-test on the same day?

No, but the negative test result must not be older than 24 hours in the case of an antigen test. PCR tests are valid for 48 hours.

Compulsory wearing of masks

Where must I wear an FFP2 mask?

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 on public transport, in train stations, ferry terminals, airports and taxis. It also applies to customers and visitors in medical practices and service establishments which provide medically necessary services close to the body and which do not operate under the 2G model. 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. Events are subject to the mandatory wearing of FFP2 masks if more than 1,000 people attend outdoors and more than 200 people attend indoors. Children under the age of 6, do not have to wear a mask. Children between the ages of 6 and 13 do, however, have to wear a medical face mask at the specified locations.

A list of the areas for which there is an obligation to wear a mask can be found in the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance.

Where must I wear a medical mask?

Wearing a medical mask is recommended in all public and private places where the minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained. 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.

Medical masks must also be worn in private car journeys taken with persons from another household. Car drivers are exempt.

The requirement to wear a mask also applies in outdoor areas of restaurants for the staff and for guests when they are not in their seats unless the 2G rule is applied. Masks must also be worn in office and administrative buildings, in retail stores, shopping centers, and tradespersons’ premises, service, and other commercial establishments with public access. The requirement to wear a mask also applies to visits to care facilities. The mask requirement usually also applies in the case of the 2G model.

Pupils and teachers are also required to wear a medical face mask inside the school building. This applies to all grades. Outdoors, the mask may be removed if a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained. In addition, in vocational education and general adult education, the wearing of a medical mask is required. In sports facilities you have to wear a mask in enclosed spaces, although the mask can be removed while doing sports.

The obligation to wear a medical mask applies to every person at demonstrations, in markets, and in queues.

Children under the age of 6 do not have to wear a mask.

The list of areas in which a mask is required can be found in the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance, in the Infection Protection Act and in the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance of the Federal Government.

Do children also have to wear a mask?

Children up to the age of six are exempt from the mask requirement. For children and adolescents from the age of 6 up to and including 13 years of age, there is only an obligation to wear a medical face mask at locations where FFP2 masks are mandatory.

Will I face a penalty if I don’t wear a mask in the prescribed areas?

If you do not comply with the obligation to wear a mask, you can be fined €100 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 basic text of the regulations on medical and FFP2 masks in the Infection Protection Measures Ordinance under Section 42.

Why must masks be worn at protests?

Every large gathering holds an increased risk of infection, especially when hygiene and distancing rules are not complied with. Medical or FFP2 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 only exempt from this obligation if they are alone or wimbers of their immediate family in the vehicle. All other passengers are required to wear a medical face mask. Drivers are not required to wear a mask.

Traffic, travel, quarantine and Corona testing

What should you take into consideration when using public transport?

The 3G rule according to the Infection Protection Act applies. Passengers on buses, trains and ferries must carry a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery or a current negative test certificate with them and show it on request. The following applies to the recovered status: A positive PCR test that is at least 28 days and at most 90 days old serves as proof. The following applies to the test certificate: The test must have been taken no longer than 24 hours before the start of the journey. For pupils, it is sufficient to present the school ID card. This does not apply during school vacations. A current negative test result must be presented during this time. Children up to the age of 6 are exempt from the obligation to provide proof. In Berlin an FFP2 mask must be worn.

Do children also have to wear an FFP2 mask on public transport?

Children under the age of six do not have to wear a mask on public transport. Young people from the age of six up to and including 13 years of age can wear a medical mask as an alternative to the FFP2 mask. These regulations apply in all areas where an FFP2 mask is mandatory.

Can I go on vacation outside Berlin?

If you travel to another Federal State or abroad, please find out in advance about the regulations which apply in the respective Federal State. A list of the Corona information websites of the other Federal States can be found in the website of the Federal Government . Information on entry requirements to foreign travel destinations can be found at the German Foreign Office website or the respective information websites of the vacation country.

Can I take a vacation in a Berlin hotel?

Yes. Tourist overnight stays in hotels, vacation apartments and guesthouses are possible under the extended 2G rule. You must prove that you are fully vaccinated or recovered.

You must wear a medical mask when you are outside the booked room or fixed accommodation. If hotel restaurants are only open to guests, the extended 2G rule also applies. However, if they are also open to walk-in customers, 2G Plus applies.

What countries have a particularly high concentration of coronavirus cases?

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.

The WHO and Johns Hopkins University also have interactive websites that offer information about the global spread of the coronavirus.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) provides details on the number of cases in Europe.

Do I need a 3G proof to enter Berlin?

Yes, when entering from abroad, you will need proof that you have been tested, vaccinated or have recovered from a Covid-19 infection as defined by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The tests must not be older than 48 hours. If you enter the country using the services of a transport company and took a PCR test, the test may not be more than 48 hours old at the departure time of the journey. For recovered status, proof is a positive PCR test taken at least 28 and no more than 90 days ago. Children under the age of 6 are exempt from having to provide proof of testing. If you are traveling from a virus variant area listed by the Robert Koch Institute, you must present a current negative test even if you have been vaccinated or have recovered from a Covid-19 infection. This is regulated by the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government.

In addition, depending on the area you are traveling from, registration requirements, isolation requirements and a transport ban may apply. You can find more information on the topic ‘Entering from Abroad’ on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

What is the difference between a high risk area and a virus variant area?

In the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of the Federal Government, a distinction is made between entries into Germany from high-risk areas and virus variant areas.

  • High risk area: areas with a very high coronavirus incidence and an increased risk of infection.
  • Virus variant area: areas abroad where certain SARS-CoV-2 mutations are prevalent which have not yet spread domestically and pose an increased risk according to current research.

Anyone entering from one of these areas must comply with the registration, , provision of proof, and quarantine requirements. These vary in severity depending on the type of area. The federal government’s coronavirus entry regulations currently prohibit the transport of people entering Germany from virus variant areas. This does not apply if the persons entering the country have their place of residence in Germany and the right to live in the country.

The current area classifications are published by the Robert Koch Institute.

Do I have to register my entry into Berlin?

If you want to enter Berlin from a high risk or virus variant area from abroad, you must comply with the registration obligation. To do this, 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 not possible for you to fill out the digital entry form, you can also print out a hand-written form and submit the completed form to the airline /other transporter or the relevant authority upon request.

Do I have to go into quarantine after entering Berlin?

If you are traveling to Berlin from a virus variant or high-risk area, quarantine obligations apply to you.

  • After entering from a high-risk area, you must immediately go into domestic isolation for ten days. You have the option of shortening the quarantine period. For children under six, the obligation to self-isolate ends after five days. Vaccinated and recently recovered people as defined by the RKI (the Corona infection occurred at least 28 and at most 90 days ago) are exempt from the quarantine requirement.
  • After entry from a virus variant area, the period of quarantine must be 14 days. Vaccinated persons are only exempt from quarantine if they have been immunized with a vaccine that is effective against the respective virus variant. In this respect, the assessment of the Robert Koch Institute is decisive.

The quarantine obligation also applies if you initially entered the country via another German federal state. During quarantine, any contact with persons not belonging to your own household is prohibited.

Can I shorten the quarantine period after entering from a risk area?

You have the possibility to end your home quarantine earlier after your stay in a high risk area if you take a Corona test after five days at the earliest and the result is negative. If you are without symptoms, you can visit one of the testing centers in 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 medical practices. Usually, the tests are subject to a fee. You will have to remain in quarantine until you have the test results. For children under six years of age, the quarantine obligation ends after five days after entry from a high-risk area. 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 generally cannot shorten the quarantine period of 14 days. However, if the area is downgraded during these 14 days, i.e. it is no longer considered a virus variant area, the respective regulations for the new classification apply from the time of the downgrade.

All requirements for shortening domestic quarantine can be found in the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance under Section 4.

Are there exceptions from quarantine when coming from abroad?

Yes. Unless travelers are entering from a virus variant area, those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection as defined by the RKI (the Corona infection occurred at least 28 and at most 90 days ago) are completely exempt from the quarantine requirement. When entering from a virus variant area, fully vaccinated persons only do not have to be quarantined if they have been immunized with a vaccine that is effective against the respective virus variant. The assessment of the Robert Koch Institute is decisive. Further exceptions from quarantine can be found in the Federal Coronavirus Entry Ordinance under Section 6.

Rapid and self-tests

What is the difference between PCR, antigen 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.

Why do I need a rapid test or a self-test?

Rapid tests and self-tests are for your personal protection, that of your family and the people around you.

In addition, a current negative test result is required for participation in various events. This applies to 3G situations for persons who are neither vaccinated nor recovered. Also persons with basic immunization must, in some cases, show a current negative Corona test (extended 2G rule and 2G Plus rule). Boostered persons are usually exempt from mandatory testing. Self-employed persons who have regular physical contact with customers or other persons in the course of their work, are required to take a rapid test on each working day. This obligation also applies to vaccinated or recovered people.

Separate tests are carried out at schools, daycare centers and nursing homes.

Who is entitled to a free rapid test?

According to the Corona Test Ordinance of the Federal Government, all asymptomatic persons in Germany are generally entitled to at least one free PoC antigen test per week as part of citizen testing. A list of certified providers can be found at direkttesten.berlin.

Who is entitled to a free PCR test?

PCR tests are usually subject to a charge. Exceptions apply in particular in the following cases:

  • Contact persons of people infected with Covid 19 are entitled to a free PCR test in consultation with the local health authority. The same applies to persons who test positive after a rapid test, if the local health office issues a public health service certificate.
  • Recipients of state benefits (e.g. Berlinpass holders, recipients of unemployment benefit II or housing benefit) are entitled to a free PCR test if they cannot be vaccinated against the coronavirus for medical reasons and wish to participate in a 2G event. These individuals can obtain a test from the state’s own testing sites if they provide appropriate documentation.
  • Persons who have received a red alert in the Corona Warning app can receive a PCR test at Berlin’s own testing sites.

Here is an overview of eligible individuals and the required proof.

Can I also get tested at a pharmacy?

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.

How safe are self and rapid tests?

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. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices publishes a list of rapid tests and self-tests that meet the requirements.

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.

What do I do if the rapid or self-test is positive?

If the rapid or self-test is positive, this result must be checked by a PCR test. An additional rapid test is not suitable for this purpose. A PCR test must be carried out either by your family doctor, for example, or by medically qualified staff at a testing center. It should be noted that any person who receives a positive test result from a rapid or self-test must isolate themselves.

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.

Finding out if you have Corona in suspected cases and quarantine

What do I do if I’m unsure if I have a cold or corona?

Persons who have symptoms should always see a doctor for testing.

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.

Who should get tested in the case of a suspected coronavirus infection?

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 (acute bronchitis or pneumonia, respiratory distress or fever).
  • … you have an acute disorder of your sense of taste and smell
  • … you had close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of Covid-19, such as someone in your own household 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 respiratory symptoms
  • … you are considered a close contact person of a confirmed Corona case

As a precautionary measure, those who meet the criteria above should self-isolate at home and contact their doctor, a Corona practice or the relevant health department by telephone so their case can be evaluated. If a test is done and you are waiting for the results, please continue to stay at home and follow the general rules on hygiene. Direct contact with other persons should be avoided.

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.

What do I do if I have had contact with a person who has tested positive?

The basic rule is, reduce your contacts and observe whether you have symptoms. Whether you have to go into quarantine depends on your vaccination status and whether you have been in close contact with the person who tested positive. Close contact includes contact through, for example, a direct conversation without wearing a mask at less than 1.5 meters apart that lasted longer than 10 minutes. This may include, for example, people from the same household.

If you are part of the close contact circle, go into self-quarantine and take a Corona test. If you have symptoms, inform your health department and take a test. If you are a close contact and have neither been boostered, nor fully vaccinated in the past three months, nor have had a Covid-19 infection in the past three months, you will usually need to be in quarantine for 10 days. Testing of contact persons no longer takes place in all cases; the health department decides on the procedure in specific individual cases. If you want to end the quarantine period prematurely, you can do so after seven days with a negative test result (rapid antigen test or possibly PCR). Separate rules apply in the context of schools and daycare centers.

More on contact tracing in diagnostics can be found at the Robert Koch Institute.

The following persons, among others, are exempt from quarantine; boostered persons, recently vaccinated and recently recovered persons or vaccinated recovered persons, provided that the last vaccination or recovery was no more than 3 months ago. Also exempted are fully vaccinated and recovered persons for whom the Standing Commission on Vaccination (StiKo) has not published a recommendation for booster vaccination. The groups of persons which are exempt from quarantine can be found under Section7 Paragraph 6 No. 1-6 of the Fourth Infection Protection Measures Ordinance.

As a contact person, do I also have to go into quarantine even though I have been vaccinated or have recovered?

As a contact person of a confirmed Corona case, you do not have to go into quarantine if you do not present the typical Covid-19 symptoms and if you are boostered, have been fully vaccinated for less than three months, or have recovered from a Covid-19 infection that occurred less than three months ago. Also, vaccinated recovered persons whose vaccination was no more than three months ago do not have to go into quarantine, provided they are symptom-free. This is regulated by the Federal Protective Measures Exemption Regulation, which has been updated by the Bundestag and Bundesrat and has been in effect in Berlin since then. This rule does not apply if the person with whom you had close contact had been infected with a virus variant for which neither the vaccines approved in the European Union nor a previous Covid infection offer sufficient protection.

How long do I have to be in quarantine as a contact person?

In principle, contact persons of persons infected with Covid 19 must be quarantined for ten days. A shorter period is possible in the following situations:

  • Quarantine for symptomless persons can be lifted after seven days following a negative rapid antigen test or possibly also a PCR test. Additional requirements apply to employees in care facilities, hospitals and similar institutions.
  • Quarantine for symptomless children and school pupils can already be lifted after five days following a negative rapid antigen test or possibly also a PCR test.
  • Employees in nursing facilities and hospitals can only end quarantine after seven days following a negative PCR test.

In addition, boostered contacts are exempt from quarantine if they have no symptoms. This also applies to fully vaccinated and recovered individuals whose last vaccination or illness was no more than three months ago.

How long can it take before symptoms appear?

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 early after infection, on average after 5-6 days or, in the case of the Omicron variant, after an average of probably three days.

Can I also take an antigen rapid test in the case of a suspected coronavirus infection?

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.

Am I healthy if I was tested negative as a close contact person?

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.

What do I do if I have tested positive for Corona?

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 ten days, unless the relevant health department decides otherwise. If the PCR test result is positive, you may only leave isolation after ten days unless you take a test. You may also end isolation after seven days following a negative test result. Employees in hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities can end their isolation after seven days with a negative PCR test if they are free of symptoms for at least 48 hours beforehand.

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. As a rule, only those close contacts you had two days before the onset of symptoms and afterwards are recorded.

What do I send to my employer in the case of a corona infection?

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

What is the coronavirus and what are the symptoms?

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. The symptoms can be very different. According to the Robert Koch Institute, frequent symptoms found in conjunction with a coronavirus infection are a cough, fever, a runny nose as well as, loss of the sense of taste and/or smell.

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.

What are coronavirus mutations?

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:

  1. more severe course of the disease after viral infection,
  2. higher transmissibility, i.e. the easier spread of the virus,
  3. 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.

Which SARS-CoV-2 variants have been detected in Berlin?

So far five SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern 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, Delta (B.1.617.2), which was first registered in India, and Omicron (B.1.1.529), which was first detected in South Africa.

The Delta variant was previously the main variant detected in Berlin and Germany as a whole from summer 2021 to January 2022. Omicron is now the dominant variant in Berlin. Omicron is even more transmissible than the Delta variant. All suspected cases are being fully investigated by health authorities and laboratories.

The prevalence and rate of spread of the virus variants are also monitored very closely by the Berlin laboratories.

For more information and recommendations on the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants please visit the Robert Koch Institute site.

What methods are used to identify the occurrence of coronavirus mutations?

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.

How can I protect myself and others against coronavirus?

You can protect yourself and others if you:

  • get vaccinated
  • keep your distance – especially from persons with typical symptoms
  • observe hygiene rules such as washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, sneezing or coughing into the crook of your arm instead of into your hand, touching your face with your hand as little as possible and avoiding shaking hands.
  • Wear a mask over mouth and nose whenever you can’t maintain the minimum distance, also outside. FFP2 masks offer special protection.
  • air rooms frequently
  • get tested for coronavirus before private gatherings outside your own household.
  • Stay at home when you feel any signs of an illness even if these are mild and work from home if necessary, reduce contacts and get tested for corona
  • Download the Corona-Warn-App of the Federal Government to your smartphone and activate the app. More information can be found in the FAQ of the Federal Government.

Coronavirus hotline

The Senate Department for Health, Long-Term Care and Gender Equality set up a hotline to advise Berliners who believe they may have contracted the virus. Coronavirus hotline