Measures against the corona virus

10.10.2020

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

General rules of conduct and hygiene

Starting immediately, all residents of Berlin must follow general rules of conduct and hygiene. If possible and reasonable to do so, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is to be maintained from all persons who do not belong to your own household. Exceptions are made for spouses and life partners as well as persons for whom you have custody or access rights. Deviating from the minimum distance is permissible if a general hygiene policy of the relevant Senate Department allows it as an exception and other measures are in place to protect against infection.

There are stricter contact restrictions in the time between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. During this period, the use of public spaces – parks, streets and squares – is only permitted if you are alone, if you are with members of your own household or a second household, or with a maximum of five persons from more than two households. Violations are subject to a fine.

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

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

  • In retail stores, supermarkets, and shops
  • In schools except during class or when participating in extracurricular and supplementary support and supervision
  • In office and administrative buildings – this applies to both employees and visitors if the minimum distance cannot be safely maintained. This obligation does not apply to employees when they are in their normal place of work.
  • When visiting cultural institutions (museums, cinemas, live-performance theaters)
  • On local public transport
  • At railway stations
  • At airports
  • In commercial enterprises
  • In medical practices
  • In hospitals and nursing homes
  • In taxis and on private journeys with persons from another household.
  • In indoor sports facilities (but not while you are exercising)
  • In lifts
  • At demonstrations with more than 100 participants

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

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

Assemblies and religious events

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

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

Public and private events

Public and private events may take place. However, the maximum permitted number of persons cannot be exceeded.: Public events in enclosed spaces may take place with a maximum of 750 1,000 persons. A maximum of 25 people may attend private events in enclosed spaces.

Public open air events with up to 5,000 people are permitted. Large events with 5,000 or more people are prohibited up to and including December 31, 2020. Private events and meetings in the open air are permitted with a maximum of 50 participants.

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

At private and public events, the organizers must create an attendance list in which the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all participants are recorded. The list must be retained for four weeks and handed over to the competent authority on request if one of the participants was infected at the time of participation. For private events, this duty only applies if the number of participants exceeds 10 people.

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

Cultural institutions

Outdoor cinemas, drive-in cinemas, indoor cinemas, trade fairs, and special markets are also able to welcome visitors again. Gambling machine arcades, casinos, betting offices, and similar facilities may also reopen. Visitors are required to wear a mask or other covering over their mouth and nose when they are not sitting in their seat.

Museums, memorials, and galleries may reopen but continue to be subject to the hygiene rules. The same applies to the lending operations of libraries. In museums and similar institutions, visitors must wear a mask or otherwise cover their mouth and nose.

The operators of all cultural institutions mentioned above are obliged to maintain records of those who are present. Such documentation must include the full names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the visitors as well as the respective time of visit and duration, if applicable. The information must be retained for four weeks, protected from access by third parties, and then destroyed or deleted. The documentation must be handed over to the responsible health authority on request if infection is suspected. Museums, memorials, and similar establishments are exempt from this obligation.

All cultural institutions mentioned above are obliged to draw up a safety and hygiene plan, which must be submitted to the competent authority on request.

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

Restaurants, bars, and hotels

Restaurants and eateries, shisha bars, smoking bars, pubs, and bars may open to the public subject to adherence to strict hygiene rules. Food and drinks must be consumed at tables or while seated at the bar or counter. When guests are not in their seats, they must wear a mask or other covering over their mouth and nose.

Service personnel in restaurants are obliged to wear a mask or other covering over their mouth and nose. Interior spaces must be adequately ventilated. Seating must be arranged in such a way that a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained between persons from different households. Groups of up to six people may sit at a table with a smaller distance between them even if they belong to several households. People may also sit closer than the applicable minimum distance outdoors, provided that protection against droplet infections and aerosols is provided. Restaurants are required to keep records of all guests at the restaurant, including full names, addresses, and contact details. In addition, the amount of time the guests spend at the restaurant and the table number must be recorded. The information collected makes it possible to trace possible chains of infection. If one of the guests is suspected to be infected, the documentation must be handed over to the competent authority on request. The documentation also must be deleted or destroyed after four weeks. A hygiene plan must also be drawn up. Highly visible notices must inform guests about the applicable rules and measures.

Pubs, bars and restaurants may open to the public at the earliest at 6 a.m. and must close at the latest at 11 p.m. This regulation applies until the end of October 31, 2020.

Hotels and operators of vacation homes and apartments may offer overnight stays to tourists. However, saunas, steam baths, and similar facilities must remain closed in spa and wellness areas. Dry saunas (where no water is poured over heated rocks) may open again. It is mandatory that documentation of visits is maintained. Such records must include the name, address, telephone number, time and duration of visit, and room numbers of the guests. Operators must also draw up a safety and hygiene plan. Visible notices must be posted to make guests aware of the social distancing and hygiene rules.

Excursions and city tours as well as guided tours and guided walks may be offered again. This permission only applies to activities which guarantee compliance with the minimum distance between the participants and the general hygiene rules.

Retail

If shops are open, they must take precautions to ensure hygiene, control access, and prevent lines from forming. Shopping malls and department stores may also open if they adhere to the guidelines for hygiene, but anything that encourages customers to remain longer than required should be avoided and such areas and facilities should be cordoned off if necessary. Visitors must wear a mask or other covering over their mouth and nose. Operators and owners of retail establishments are required to draw up a safety and hygiene plan and to submit it to the competent authority on request. In addition, notices indicating the applicable rules must be posted in a clearly visible manner.

Until October 31, 2020, stores of all kinds are obliged to close between 11:00 p.m. and 06:00 a.m. Petrol stations and pharmacies are allowed to open during this period. Petrol stations may only offer fuel and spare parts for the maintenance or repair of motor vehicles. Pharmacies may only offer medicines and goods customary in pharmacies.

In addition, the serving, dispensing and sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. until 31 December 31, 2020.

Sport and leisure

Sports activities are permitted in and on public and private sports facilities, in swimming pools, and in health clubs, subject to certain guidelines.

Sports clubs may resume training and teaching, provided that the training is free of contact and the applicable minimum distance between those engaging in training is maintained. If training is taking place in enclosed spaces, record must be kept of those present. Furthermore, the premises must be adequately ventilated. If this is not possible, the sporting activities may not take place.

The following applies for contact and team sports: Group sports are generally permitted for fixed training groups with a maximum of 30 participants. In addition to trainers and other support staff, a maximum of four people may anticipate in martial arts. Sailboats and rowing boats, as well as canoes, may be used for sports. The responsible persons must inform the participants about the applicable hygiene rules before each training session. It is necessary to keep attendance records.

Sports competitions are permitted, provided that it takes place within the framework of a sports association’s usage and hygiene plan that has been approved in advance by the Senate Department for the Interior and Sport.

Health clubs and similar facilities, dance schools, and commercial sports programs and sports facilities, along with private sports schools, may open to the public. All premises open to the public must be regularly aired out and adequately ventilated. A record must be kept of those in attendance.

Beach and open-air swimming pools, as well as indoor swimming pools, may only resume operation after receiving approval from the local health office. Operation of swimming pools in enclosed spaces requires that the identity of visitors be documented so that possible chains of infection can be traced.

Schools, daycare centers, and higher education institutions

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

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

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

Adult education centers may resume regular operations.

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

Teaching at public, private, and denominationally affiliated institutions of higher education in Berlin is carried out using a combination of digital and classroom teaching. Practical exercises, examinations, and in-person teaching may take place as long as the applicable hygiene and social distancing rules are observed. Records must be kept of those who participate in classroom instruction indoors.

Quarantine and reporting obligations for those entering the state of Berlin

Quarantine and reporting obligations apply to persons who have been in a risk area within the last 14 days prior to their arrival in the state of Berlin. The list of current risk areas is published by the Robert Koch Institute.

View the current list of risk areas

Immediately upon entry, the aforementioned persons who have entered Berlin must proceed directly to their own apartment or house or other suitable accommodation and stay there constantly for a period of 14 days after entry. During this quarantine period, all contact with persons who are not part of your household must be strictly avoided.

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

  • Identifying details, including date of birth
  • Travel route taken
  • Contact details, including telephone number, email address, and mailing address of the place where they live or are staying in Berlin
  • Any symptoms that are typical of a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection: fever, a new cough, impaired sense of taste or smell, or difficulty breathing
  • Any doctor’s certificates showing that they have been tested for a SARS-CoV-2 infection

There are exceptions to the quarantine obligation for people in diplomatic service as well as for persons in transit. People who can present a medical certificate and a current laboratory result in German or English that confirms that there are no indications of infection with the coronavirus are also excluded from this obligation. These documents must be kept on hand for at least 14 days and presented to the competent authority promptly on request (within 72 hours at the latest). The medical certificate must be based on a molecular biological test that was carried out in a member state of the European Union or another country published by the Robert Koch Institute and that was carried out no more than 48 hours before entry into the Federal Republic of Germany. People who, for professional reasons, transport other persons, goods, and merchandise across borders by road, rail, sea, or air, are also exempt from the obligations if they have been in a risk area for less than 72 hours or spend less than 48 hours in the state of Berlin.

Inner German risk areas

Due to the nationwide increasing number of infections, certain restrictions apply depending on the federal state. This is also the case for travel within Germany. In many federal states, anyone entering from a risk region within Germany is not allowed to stay overnight in a hotel or hostel unless a negative coronavirus test can be presented. A risk region is defined as areas within which the incidence of infection exceeds the limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within the last 7 days (7-day incidence). Anyone wishing to travel from such a risk region to another federal state should find out in advance on the internet site of the relevant federal state about the applicable regulations.

Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes

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

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

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

Sexual services

Paid sexual services including sexual intercourse are permitted.Practices close to the face are prohibited.

The holding of prostitution events and the provision of sexual services in prostitution vehicles are prohibited.

Prostitution facilities have been allowed to resume operations since August 8 as long as they only offer the services permitted.

Sexual services may be offered only by appointment and only to individual persons. A record must be kept of those who were present; this documentation must include the client’s contact details and the date and time of the visit. This record must be destroyed or deleted four weeks after the visit.

Fines

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

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

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

The legal basis for these rules is the Protection against Infection Act. The ordinance was promulgated on June 26, 2020, in accordance with section 2 (1) of the Berlin Promulgation Act and went into effect on June 27. The ordinance will expire at the end of the day December 31, 2020.

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