Content

Measures against the corona virus

01.05.2021

General rules of conduct and hygiene

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

If possible and reasonable to do so, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is to be maintained from all persons who do not belong to your own household. This is especially important for people with typical Covid-19 symptoms. 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.

- Contact restrictions must be observed in public and private spaces. You can only be in these places alone or with members of your own household and with a maximum of one person from another household plus their children under 14 years of age. However, in public spaces outdoors no more than five people may be present at the same time. Children up to 14 years of age are not included.

- In the time between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following day, private gatherings indoors are only permitted with members of your own household. This means that no visitors from outside the household are allowed during this time. Exceptions apply to spouses and partners or to persons for whom custody or visitation rights exist and their children up to the age of 14.

- Strict restrictions apply between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following day. You may only leave your own home for valid and unavoidable reasons. These include going to work or walking a dog. Between 10 p.m. and midnight, it is permitted to walk or exercise outdoors alone.

All Berliners are strongly advised to have a PoC antigen test before meeting people from outside their household. Several test centers (link to: https://www.berlin.de/corona/testzentren/#schnelltests) throughout Berlin offer free tests.

In addition, the Berlin Senate strongly recommends that you wear a medical face mask or other mask . This recommendation applies in public places and especially when you are coming into contact with persons who are at particular risk.

Persons aged 15 and over have to wear a FFP2 mask without a ventilation valve or an equivalent mask in the following places:

  • When shopping – for example customers in supermarkets, pharmacies or drugstores
  • In public transport – for passengers
  • At railway stations
  • At airports
  • In taxis (drivers do not have to wear a mask.)
  • In commercial businesses – for customers
  • In medical practices – for patients and visitors
  • In hospitals and nursing homes – for visitors and patients when receiving visitors
  • In vocational training
  • In cultural institutions – for visitors
  • In libraries and archives for visitors

Children and adolescents between 6 and 14 years of age have to wear a medical face in these places.

You have to wear a medical face mask (surgical mask, FFP2 or KN95 mask without a ventilation valve) in the following places:

  • In local public transport – for staff
  • At railway stations – for staff
  • At airports – for staff
  • On private journeys for persons from another household. (car drivers do not have to wear a mask.)
  • In commercial enterprises – for staff
  • In medical practices – for staff
  • In school buildings
  • In office and administrative buildings. This obligation does not apply to employees when they are in their normal place of work.
  • Where food is served
  • At meetings in enclosed spaces
  • In covered sports facilities (the mask can be removed during sports).
  • At religious services and events

You are required to wear a mask (medical face mask or everyday mask) in the following places:

  • At markets (weekly markets, etc.) and in queues
  • In busy streets – such as Bergmannstrasse, and Kurfürstendamm – as well as in certain busy public squares – such as Alexanderplatz. To the overview of all areas where masks are mandatory. This obligation to wear masks applies from 6 a.m. to midnight, cyclists are exempt.
  • At demonstrations

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, in the case of normal masks 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.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus must immediately go into isolation at home and avoid all contact with persons outside the household. This does not apply to persons whose positive test result is from a self-test which was not carried out under supervision.

If the positive test result is from a PoC test (rapid test or self-test), further testing by PCR test is required. The quarantine obligation applies until a negative PCR test result is available – also in this case, persons with positive self-tests that were conducted without supervision are excluded. In the case of a positive PCR test, quarantine at home must be maintained for at least 14 days in consultation with the health department responsible. A negative Corona test is required to end the quarantine.

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 and wear a mask (a medical mask must be worn in enclosed spaces). In the case of assemblies in enclosed spaces with more than five people, all participants must present a negative Corona test. 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 religious or similar 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. All participants must wear a medical face mask. In addition, religious or similar events with more than ten participants must be registered if the religious community has not established a hygiene concept that meets the requirements of the cultural administration. This registration must take place two days in advance at the respective public order authority.

Public and private events

- Events that belong to the culture, entertainment or leisure sector – such as concerts, operas, theater performances and dance events – are generally not permitted.

- Public events in enclosed spaces may only be held with no more than 20 persons until the end of May 16, 2021. If more than five people meet, all participants must be able to show proof of a current negative Corona test, a complete vaccination (both doses) or a previous Covid 19 infection.

- Outdoor public events may take place with a maximum of 50 persons.

- Private meetings in enclosed spaces are only permitted with members of your own household and a maximum of one person from another household. In addition, no gatherings with persons outside your own household will be allowed between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions apply to spouses and partners or to persons for whom custody or visitation rights exist. Your own children up to 14 years of age are not included in either case. In public spaces, you may only be alone, with members of your own household and with one person from another household. However, no more than five people may be present at the same time. Children up to 14 years of age are not included. In the time between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following day, contact restrictions in public spaces are much stricter. During this time, you can only be outdoors for valid and unavoidable reasons. These include going to work or walking a dog.

- For funerals and related events, the permitted number is 20 persons in enclosed spaces and 30 persons outside.

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

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

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

Employment and home office

- Employers must allow office workers, and employees who do similar work, to work from home or on a mobile basis, unless there are absolutely necessary work-related reasons not to do so. The above-mentioned employees must work from home unless there are compelling reasons not to do so.

- If it is not possible to keep to the minimum distance of 1.5 meters or the guideline amount of 10 square meters of office/workspace per employee cannot be maintained, employees must wear a medical face mask (i.e. a surgical mask, a FFP2 mask without valve, or KN95 masks without valve or comparable masks). Employers must provide the appropriate masks if it is not possible to keep to the minimum distance or if the guideline amount of 10 square meters of office/workspace per employee cannot be maintained.

- Companies are required to offer all employees, who are at least sometimes present at the workplace, free point-of-care (PoC) antigen testing twice a week. These tests may also be self-tests. Employees with physical customer contact are obliged to take these tests. Corresponding evidence and test results must be kept for four weeks. Employers must issue appropriate certificates upon request.

- Exceptions to the above testing requirement exist for employees who do not work in hospitals, nursing homes, or doctors’ practices and

  • have been fully vaccinated (both doses), with the final vaccination having taken place at least 14 days previously; or
  • have recovered from a recent Covid 19 infection, with the Corona infection having occurred at least 28 days and no more than six months previously; or
  • have recovered from a Covid 19 illness some time ago, and have also received at least one vaccination against corona virus

Self-employed persons with physical customer contact are also required to take a PoC test at least twice a week. The city of Berlin’s free test offer can be used for this purpose.

Cultural institutions

- Cinemas, concert halls, theaters and other cultural venues must remain closed to the public. The same applies to amusement arcades, casinos, betting shops and similar places.

- Museums and memorials must also remain closed. Galleries and retail stores are allowed to open in compliance with strict guidelines. Visitors are only allowed to enter if they have booked an appointment in advance. There is an obligation to wear an FFP2 mask without a ventilation valve or an equivalent mask. Visits are only possible for persons who can show proof of a current negative Corona test, a complete vaccination (both doses) or a previous Covid 19 infection. In addition, extensive distance and hygiene rules apply as well as upper limits on the amount of visitors.

- Libraries are permitted to lend. Library users must wear an FFP2 or equivalent mask.

- 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 canteens may not open to the public. However, offering food and beverages for collection and delivery remains permitted in the time between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. food deliveries are permitted but self-collection is not allowed. Customers are obliged to wear a face mask when picking up orders at the premises and while waiting in queues. In addition, sellers must take suitable precautions to regulate the sales process and in particular to ensure compliance with distance and hygiene rules.

- Canteens may offer food and beverages on site if it is not otherwise possible to adequately cater for employees. However, this does not apply to guests and visitors.

- In the time between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. it is forbidden to serve, dispense and sell alcoholic beverages. This regulation applies until the end of May 16, 2021.

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

Retail

- Retail stores may only open if they use the “Test and meet” system. This means that visitors and customers must be able to present a current negative Corona test and make an appointment in advance. Vaccinated persons and persons who have recovered from a Corona infection may alternatively submit one of the following types of proof:
  • Evidence of a complete vaccination (both doses) with the final vaccination having taken place at least 14 days previously
  • A positive PCR test that is at least 28 days and no more than six months old
  • A positive PCR test older than six months and additionally proof of at least one vaccination against the coronavirus.
    In addition, the number of persons must be severely limited. Here, the guideline of 40 square meters per customer must be adhered to.

- Food retailers, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drugstores, gas stations, flower shops, garden centers, animal food stores, pet supply stores, baby article stores, the wholesale trade and banks are not affected by this regulation. These shops 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 an FFP2 mask. Operators of retail establishments are required to draw up a safety and hygiene plan and to submit it to the competent authority on request. In addition, notices indicating the applicable rules must be posted in a clearly visible manner. When deciding the permitted number of persons, the 20 square meters per visitor guideline must be observed. For stores, sales outlets, shopping centers and department stores with more than 800 square meters of sales area, the following applies: for areas exceeding 800 square meters, the standard measure of 40 square meters per visitor must be observed.

- Department stores and shopping malls are encouraged to organize testing opportunities for customers using the PoC antigen test.

- The serving, dispensing and sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in retail outlets of all kinds. This regulation applies until the end of May 16, 2021.

Sport and leisure

- Sports activities are only permitted to a limited extent. Fitness studios, dance studios and similar facilities must remain closed.

- Contact-free sports are only permitted to be carried out alone, with one other person or with members of your own household, provided the minimum distance is observed Between 10 p.m. and midnight, it is only permitted to walk or exercise outdoors alone. Between midnight and 5 a.m. this is no longer allowed.

- Children up to 14 years old are allowed to train outdoors without physical contact in small groups. In this case, the group may include up to 5 participants plus one supervising person. The supervisor must provide a negative Corona test upon request by the relevant authority.

- This restriction on contact during sports does not apply to federal and State team athletes, athletes in professional leagues and professional athletes provided that they train in compliance with strict hygiene requirements.

- They outside areas of the zoos and gardens may remain open to the public. However, visits to these facilities are permitted only upon presentation of a current negative Corona test result, proof of complete vaccination (both doses), or proof of previous Corona infection.

Schools, daycare centers, and higher education institutions

- In general, school attendance is compulsory. Currently, the obligation to attend school is suspended.

- At the Berlin schools, the number of pupils in a class are reduced by half. The smaller classes are taught on an alternating basis. Alternating classes can be taught either on a daily or weekly basis, or by offering at least three hours of teaching per day for all pupils. Pupils and teachers must wear medical masks at all times. Teachers and pupils can take a Corona test up to twice a week.

- Beginning April 19, 2021, testing is mandatory for all pupils. The tests must be administered twice a week on site at the school. Pupils will receive the tests from their school.

- If the Berlin-wide seven-day incidence exceeds 165 for three consecutive days, no face-to-face teaching may be provided. This begins two days after the incidence exceeded 165 for three consecutive days. Graduating classes may be exempt from this rule.

- Daycare centers only provide emergency service. Only single parents and families with at least one parent who is working in an essential occupation are entitled to emergency care for their children. However, this only applies if there is no other option for care. Emergency care is also available for preschool children and children with special educational needs.

- Children with cold symptoms will not be accepted in daycare centers. This also applies to children with a mild cold and cough without fever. However, upon presentation of a current negative Corona rapid test, children with cold symptoms may continue to attend daycare centers.

- The private, unpaid and non-commercial care of children under 12 years of age within a family or neighborhood circle is permitted, provided that children from a maximum of two households are supervised in fixed groups.

- Teaching at public, private, and denominationally affiliated institutions of higher education in Berlin will only be carried out digitally until May 31, 2021. There will be no face-to-face events until May 31, 2021. Due to this restriction, the submission deadlines for final papers and homework assignments will be extended in accordance with the respective framework regulations of the higher education institutions.

Quarantine, testing and reporting obligations for those entering the state of Berlin

Quarantine, testing and reporting obligations apply to persons who have been in a risk area within the last 10 days prior to their arrival in the state of Berlin. In addition, testing is now mandatory for all persons entering from abroad by air. There are three types of risk area: High incidence areas (areas where the 7-day incidence is greater than 200), virus variant areas (areas where certain SARS-CoV-2 mutations are prevalent), and risk areas (other areas where there is an increased risk of infection). The list of current risk areas is published by the Robert Koch Institute. View the current list of risk areas. Immediately upon entry, the aforementioned persons who have entered Berlin must proceed directly to their own apartment or house or other suitable accommodation and stay there constantly for a period of 10 days after entry. Those entering the country from virus-variant areas are required to go into quarantine at home for 14 days. During this quarantine period, all contact with persons who are not part of your household is prohibited.

In addition, people returning to/entering the country from risk areas are required to register their entry in advance. This notification must be made using the electronic registration and information system at www.einreiseanmeldung.de. The information will be forwarded to the health authority responsible. After successful digital registration, passengers will receive a confirmation which must be presented to the airline/other transporter or the relevant authority upon request.

If digital registration of entry is not possible for technical reasons, the person entering the country must carry a written substitute notification in which the following points are listed: Identity including date of birth, travel route or places of stay during the last ten days prior to entry, contact data including telephone number, e-mail address and home address or expected places of stay in Berlin during the ten days following entry and the means of travel used for entry. The replacement notification must also be presented to the airline/other transporter or the relevant authority upon request.

Furthermore, those persons entering the country are required to be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus for entry. The test can be carried out at the earliest 48 hours before entry. Anyone entering from a high-risk area (high-incidence area or virus variant area) or anyone arriving by air is obliged take the test before entering the country. The test result must be kept for at least ten days after entry and must be handed over to the relevant authority upon request.

Exemptions from quarantine are defined using a tiered system. As a rule, persons who are exempt from the obligation to report or test also do not have to be quarantined. Furthermore, persons who are allowed to take a test to be “freed from quarantine” due to their occupation or other legal reason are exempt (including medical personnel, persons with a temporary stay in Berlin, for example for visits to relatives, assistance and care of vulnerable and needy persons). This group of persons can take a test to be freed from quarantine immediately before or immediately after entering the Federal Republic of Germany. More stringent regulations apply to persons entering Germany from virus-variant areas: Exemptions from the obligation to go into quarantine can only be granted by the relevant health authority.

The period of quarantine can be terminated at the earliest five days after entering the country. Those entering from virus-variant areas are excluded from this regulation. The requirement for the shortening of quarantine at home is that the person provides a negative test for the corona virus, which was carried out on the fifth day after entry at the earliest. The test result must be written in German, English or French and be available in written or electronic form. The medical test certificate shall be kept for at least 10 days after entry and shall be presented immediately upon request of the authority responsible.

Persons who have been in a virus-variant area within the last ten days before entering Germany may currently not be transported to the Federal Republic by plane, train, bus or ship until April 14, 2021. Exceptions apply to German citizens, persons who have their residence and a right of abode in Germany, as well as for urgently needed transport – such as ambulance transport or transport for humanitarian reasons.

Visiting arrangements in hospitals and nursing homes

In hospitals and clinics, the basic obligation to wear an FFP2 or equivalent mask applies to both visitors and patients when they are not in their room or when they are receiving visitors.

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

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

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

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

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

- Residents of nursing homes are allowed daily visits. Each resident may be visited indoors once a day by one person for two hours. In outdoor areas, two persons are allowed to visit for two hours. For visitors up to 12 years of age, a second visitor is allowed as an accompanying person. The same applies to visitors who require a permanent accompanying person. During this period, the visits can be arranged with the respective facilities. Visits to care facilities are possible within minimum visiting hours (daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on at least one day at the weekend and two further weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

Nursing facility visitors must wear a FFP2 mask without an exhalation valve at all times. In addition, access is only permitted to persons who can show either a negative POC antigen corona rapid test or a negative PCR test for the coronavirus. The test result must not be older than 24 hours.

The critically ill and dying may be visited without restriction. However, increased protective measures for the protection of other residents as well as visitors and staff must be observed.

Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes

In hospitals and nursing homes, visitors must wear an FFP2 mask without a valve or an equivalent mask. 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.

Services

- Beauty salons, solariums and all similar businesses must remain closed.

- Exceptions to this rule apply to hairdressing salons and providers of foot care. Customers must wear an FFP2 mask without a valve or an equivalent mask during the visit and present a current negative Corona test. Self-tests are only valid in this case if they are performed on site under the supervision of the service provider. For vaccinated persons, the obligation to present a negative test result is waived from the 15th day after the second vaccination. Persons who can prove that they have recovered from a Covid 19 infection also do not have to present a negative test result. A minimum distance of two meters must be maintained between customers at all times. Service providers are required to wear a medical face mask. In addition, customers must wait outside the premises until it is their turn.

- Body care treatments that are necessary for medical, nursing, psychological or therapeutic reasons may take place. Those treated must also wear an FFP2 mask in this case, if possible.

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

- Driving schools and all similar businesses may open to the public subject to special hygiene and protection measures. Pupils must present a current negative Corona test.

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 medical mask not worn: 50 to 500 euros
  • Being in public spaces 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
  • 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.

These regulations are based on the Infection Protection Act of the Federal Government and the SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Ordinance of the State of Berlin.

Second Ordinance on Measures Required to Protect the Population from Infections with the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus (Second SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Measures Ordinance – 2. InfSchMV) From March 4, 2021

This translation is for informational purposes only. Only the German text is legally binding. More information