Measures against the corona virus

General rules of conduct and hygiene

Currently, 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. 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.

All Berliners are strongly advised to have a PoC antigen test before meeting people from outside their household. Several test centers throughout Berlin offer free tests.

Every asymptomatic person has the opportunity to take advantage of free PoC antigen testing (“rapid tests”) at least once a week in state and commercial testing centers.

The following groups of people are considered to be vaccinated or recovered:
  • Fully vaccinated persons for whom the final vaccination against the coronavirus took place at least 14 days previously. The corresponding vaccination certificate must be submitted in digital or paper form. Vaccination certificates issued in the European Union (EU) and outside the EU are accepted provided that the vaccine is recognized by the EU. Persons who have been vaccinated outside the EU can apply for an approved vaccination certificate by presenting their vaccination documents to the relevant authorities.
  • Persons who have recovered from a Covid 19 infection that occurred at least 28 days and not more than six months previously. In this case, a positive PCR test taken within this time period shall serve as proof.
  • Persons who contracted Covid-19 more than six months previously and have had at least one vaccination. In this case, both a positive PCR test and proof of vaccination in digital or paper form serve as evidence.

In order to contain the rate of infection, access to certain businesses, services and events can be restricted to specific groups of people – such as fully vaccinated or recovered persons. Currently, there are two models: 3G (VRT = Vaccinated/Recovered/Tested) and 2G (VR = Vaccinated/Recovered). In some areas a particular model may be mandatory.

When the 3G model is used, access is only granted to persons who are considered vaccinated or recovered or who present a current negative test result. Rapid tests are valid for 24 hours, while PCR tests cannot be older than 48 hours. Pupils who are regularly tested as part of their school attendance do not need to present a separate proof of testing. The school ID card serves as proof.

The 3G model (VRT) is mandatory for the following:
  • Local and long-distance public transport including access to the platforms in railway stations and ferry terminals
  • The workplace
  • Administrative buildings of the Federal State of Berlin, for example citizens’ offices (Bürgerämter)
  • Outdoor events with more than 100 participants, unless the 2G (VR) model is chosen
  • City tours and similar activities that take place exclusively outdoors, unless the 2G (VR) condition applies
  • Basic education and German as a second language. All other courses must take place in the 2G (VR) model.
  • Outdoor sports if the minimum distance is not kept. If only persons from one household are doing sports together, the obligation to use the 3G model does not apply.
The 2G model (VR) requires the following:
  • Only persons who are fully vaccinated or deemed to have recovered from a Covid-19 infection will be allowed access to the event or facility concerned
  • Proof of vaccination and recovery must be digitally verifiable – for example, using the Federal Government’s Corona Warn app or the Robert Koch Institute’s CovPass app. Printed QR codes are also digitally verifiable. Exceptions apply to persons who have been immunized outside the European Union (EU) with a vaccine accepted by the EU. Appropriate proof must be provided in this case.
  • Proof that guests and customers have been vaccinated or recovered from a Covid-19 infection must be checked.
  • Personnel with direct contact to guests or customers must alsoeither be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19, or present a daily negative Corona test. The same applies to persons who perform artistic performances at events. Employees who are not vaccinated or recovered must be offered employment which does not involve direct customer contact for the period in which VR conditions prevail.
  • The obligation to wear a mask applies. If it is not possible to comply with this requirement, the organizers can stipulate that all visitors and customers must present a negative test or enforce the minimum distance between participants.
  • Children under 18 may attend 2G (VR) events and enter and use 2G (VR) facilities if they test negative. The same applies to those persons who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. In this case, however, a PCR test is required. In addition, a medical certificate or a maternity record must be presented.
The 2G (VR) model is mandatory for the following events, facilities and services:
  • All indoor events with more than 20 people
  • All dance events. These may only take place outdoors.
  • Body-related services in the personal care sector (such as hairdressers and beauty salons)
  • Retail stores, except for stores providing basic supplies
  • The indoor areas of restaurants and other catering establishments
  • Museums, cinemas, theaters, concert halls and similar cultural facilities
  • The indoor areas of libraries and archives
  • Sightseeing tours, guided tours and similar tourist services if indoor areas are concerned
  • Covered sports facilities including gyms and indoor swimming pools
  • Driving schools and similar facilities
  • Hotels and other types of accommodation
  • Saunas, thermal baths and similar facilities
  • Amusement arcades, amusement parks and similar establishments
  • Sexual services, in which case further hygiene requirements apply, such as mandatory FFP2 masks
  • Christmas markets

Organizers, service providers and owners of outdoor facilities can in certain circumstances decide whether they want to open using the 2G model. This is not mandatory in all cases.

Stores providing basic supplies such as supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, health food stores, drugstores and similar establishments are excluded from the 2G (VR) option.

In addition, the Berlin Senate strongly recommends that you wear a medical face 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:
  • In medical practices – for patients and visitors
  • In hospitals – for visitors and patients who are outside their room
  • When providing and receiving permitted body care or sexual services

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 retail stores
  • In local public transport
  • At railway stations
  • At airports
  • On private journeys and in taxis for persons from another household. (car drivers do not have to wear a mask.)
  • In commercial enterprises
  • In medical practices – for staff
  • In school buildings
  • In nursing homes for visitors and patients who receive visitors
  • In vocational training
  • In office and administrative buildings. This obligation does not apply to employees when they are in their normal place of work.
  • In lifts.
  • Where food is served including in outdoor areas for employees and for guests who are not seated.
  • At cultural events for participants who are not in their seats.
  • Indoors in sports facilities, gyms, dance studios and similar facilities. The mask may be removed while participants are doing sports.
  • At markets, Christmas markets and in queues
  • At demonstrations outdoors

The mask must be worn in such a way that the mouth and nose are completely covered preventing the emission of aerosols and droplets. 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 14 days in consultation with the health department responsible. They can extend or shorten the duration of self-isolation depending on the situation. A negative Corona test is required to end the quarantine.

Assemblies and religious events

o 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 medical mask. In the case of assemblies in enclosed spaces, all participants must present a negative Corona test or proof of vaccination or of recovery from a Covid-19 infection. 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. When assemblies are conducted in enclosed spaces using the 2G (VR) model, the minimum distance does not have to be maintained and the mask requirement does not apply.

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 mask if they are not in their seats.

Public and private events

Events that belong to the culture, entertainment or leisure sector – such as concerts, operas, theater performances and dance events – are permitted subject to strict hygiene requirements.

Public events in enclosed spaces may be held with up to 200 persons. The permissible number of persons is increased to a maximum of 2,500 if all the requirements of the hygiene concept of the senate administration are met. For indoor events with more than 20 people, the 2G (VR) model is mandatory, i.e. all participants must be able to show proof of a complete vaccination or a previous Covid-19 infection. For indoor events with fewer than 20 people, the same minimum distance and hygiene requirements apply as for non-2G (VR) outdoor events.

o Outdoor public events may take place with a maximum of 1,000 persons. The number of persons allowed to attend these events increases to a maximum of 5,000 if all the requirements contained in the hygiene concept of the relevant Senate administration are met. If more than 100 people are present, testing is mandatory for all participants. All visitors must be assigned a seat at events. If visitors are not in their seats, they must wear a medical face mask. The obligation to assign a seat does not apply if all participants have either a negative test result or are vaccinated. Outdoor events can also be held using the 2G model.

Outdoor public events may take place with a maximum of 1,000 persons. The number of persons allowed to attend these events increases to a maximum of 5,000 if all the requirements contained in the hygiene concept of the relevant Senate administration are met. If more than 100 people are present, testing is mandatory for all participants. All visitors must be assigned a seat at events. If visitors are not in their seats, they must wear a medical face mask. The obligation to assign a seat does not apply if all participants have either a negative test result or are vaccinated. Outdoor events can also be held using the 2G model.

Private events such as funerals, wedding parties, birthday parties, graduation parties and religious festivities are subject to the same requirements as public events. The obligation to document attendance applies to events with 20 or more participants.

Stricter contact restrictions apply to all other private events and gatherings. These events and gatherings are only permitted with persons from one’s own household and with up to two other persons from another household. Children under the age of 14 and persons who are fully vaccinated and have recovered from Covid-19 are excluded from this requirement.

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, an attendance list must be created. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all participants must be traceable. The list must be retained for two 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 obligation only applies if more than 20 people participate. Organizers of permitted public events and organizers of private events are also obliged to draw up a safety and hygiene plan.

Employment and home office

Employers must allow office workers and employees who do similar work to work from home or on a remote basis unless there are compelling operational reasons which make this not possible. The above-mentioned employees are also obliged to accept the offer to work from home if this is possible.

An obligation to use the 3G (VRT) model in the workplace applies nationwide: access to the workplace is only granted to persons who present proof of their full vaccination, recovery from a Covid-19 infection or a current negative test. Employers are obliged to check and document the evidence provided.

In office and administrative buildings, employees and visitors must wear a medical mask when they are not seated or cannot keep the minimum distance of 1.5 meters.

Access to the official buildings of the Federal State of Berlin is only possible under 3G conditions. Visitors and customers must be vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or have a current negative test result. Appropriate testing services must be provided.

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. Self-testing in this case must be carried out under supervision. Corresponding evidence and test results must be kept for four weeks. Employers must issue appropriate certificates upon request. Employees in hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities who are neither vaccinated nor recovered must provide a daily negative Corona test when working near patients. Vaccinated and recovered employees in these facilities are required to undergo Corona testing twice a week. The employers must provide the daily tests.

Self-employed persons with physical customer contact are also required to take a PoC test at least twice a week. The commercial testing centers can be used for this purpose.

Exceptions to the above testing requirement exist for employees and for self-employed persons who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from a Covid 19 infection.

Cultural institutions

Cinemas, concert halls, theaters, opera houses and other cultural venues may only open to the public under2G conditions. The 2G model does not apply if no enclosed spaces are involved. There is an upper limit of 200 people present (or 2,500 in the case of mechanical ventilation and compliance with the hygiene framework concept) at any one time in enclosed spaces and 1,000 people in outdoor areas. If the 2G model is not used outdoors, the following applies: each visitor must be assigned a seat. Visitors must wear a medical face mask when they are not seated. The minimum distance between people from different households has to be maintained at all times. If the minimum distance cannot be maintained, the obligation to wear a mask also exists when visitors are seated. This obligation does not apply if all participants have been tested negative for the coronavirus, have been vaccinated or have recovered from a coronavirus infection. The testing requirement for visitors applies if more than 100 people are present at the same time.

Christmas markets can only take place under 2G conditions. In addition, the number of people attending must be regulated: The guideline of 5 square meters per visitor must be observed.

The obligation to wear a mask applies to fairs, Christmas markets and cultural festivals.

Amusement arcades, casinos, betting shops and similar places are allowed to open. Insofar as indoor areas are concerned, the 2G (VR) model is mandatory. The same applies to saunas and thermal baths.

Museums, galleries and memorials are allowed to open. Insofar as indoor areas are concerned, the 2G (VR) model is mandatory and masks have to be worn. Visitors also have to wear medical or FFP2 masks without a valve in the outside areas.

Libraries and archives are only permitted to open their indoor areas using the 2G model.

Indoor dance events are not permitted.

Dances may be held outdoors with a maximum of 1,000 people. The 2G model is mandatory.

Restaurants, bars, and hotels

Restaurants and canteens may open to the public subject to strict hygiene requirements. Indoors, the 2G model is mandatory. Masks have to be worn by the staff and customers if they are not in their seats. The 2G condition does not apply to customers who enter indoor areas only in order to use the sanitary facilities. The mask requirement also applies to these visitors. If no indoor areas are involved and the 2G model is not used, additional distance and hygiene requirements must be complied with.

Tourist overnight stays in hotels, vacation apartments and other types of accommodation are permitted. The 2G (VR) model is mandatory. Furthermore, the hygiene concept of the Senate Department for Economic Affairs has to be adhered to.

Retail

Retail stores are allowed to open. The 2G (VR) model is mandatory except for shops offering basic supplies. This also applies to shopping malls and department stores. Visitors must wear a medical mask.

The 2G (VR) requirement does not apply to retail stores for food and beverages, tobacco products, stationery, newspapers, magazines, books and pet supplies, pharmacies, establishments for the purchase of medical supplies and hearing and vision aids, drugstores, health food stores, gas stations, baby stores, florists, home improvement and garden stores, pick-up and delivery services and weekly markets, commercial craft supplies and bicycle and automobile repair shops.

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.

Sport and leisure

Sports are permitted outdoors. If the minimum distance is not kept, the 3G model is mandatory. This does not apply if those persons doing sports together are from the same household.

Covered sports facilities, swimming pools, fitness studios, dance studios and similar facilities are allowed to open under 2G conditions plus the additional requirements. In addition to the extended 2G rule with the obligation to wear a mask, either a negative test is required for all visitors or minimum distancing requirements have to be kept. Those responsible may determine which of these additional rules is to be applied uniformly. During sports the mask can be taken off.

This restriction on contact during sports and the 2G requirements do 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 and present a current negative Corona test). Pupils who are subject to regular testing while attending school may present their School ID card in lieu of a negative test result.

The zoos and gardens may open to the public. Visitors must wear a medical mask. If enclosed spaces are involved, the 2G (VR) model is mandatory. This applies, for example, to visits to animal enclosures and greenhouses.

Saunas, thermal baths and similar facilities are only allowed to open under 2G (VR) conditions. The number of persons must be limited: One customer is allowed per 5 square meters of usable space. Saunas with infusions and steam baths are permitted.. Visitors must wear a medical mask, which they can remove when swimming or using the sauna.

Schools and daycare centers

In general, school attendance is compulsory. Berlin schools are back to regular teaching.

The Corona staging plan is used for regular assessment of infection rates at Berlin’s elementary schools, general secondary schools, and vocational schools. This comprises three levels (green, yellow, red), each of which provides for hygiene measures adapted to the infection rates. Emergency care may be provided if needed at schools which have yellow or red levels.

Teachers and pupils must take a Corona test three times a week. Tests will be provided and carried out at the school. Vaccinated and recovered persons are exempt.

The obligation to wear a medical mask applies to all grades.

The Berlin daycare centers offer regular operation.

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.

There are two types of risk area: High-risk areas (areas in which there is an increased 7-day incidence or other evidence of an increased risk of infection), and virus variant areas (areas where certain SARS-CoV-2 mutations are prevalent that are not yet common in Germany). The list of current risk areas is published by the Robert Koch Institute. View the current list of risk areas.

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.

Furthermore, all persons entering the country from abroad are required to be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus before entry. This also applies when coming from non-risk areas. PoC rapid tests must have been performed no earlier than 48 hours prior to entry. For entries from virus variant areas, the test must not be older than 24 hours. PCR tests are permitted if they were performed no more than 72 hours prior to entry. The test result must be kept for at least ten days after entry and must be handed over to the relevant authority upon request. The testing requirement does not apply to children under 12 years of age. Persons who are considered fully vaccinated or recovered may alternatively submit appropriate proof. The testing obligation applies to everyone entering from virus variant areas regardless – also for vaccinated and recovered persons.

Anyone entering the state of Berlin by air, land or sea after a stay in one of the above-mentioned risk areas must go directly to their own apartment or house or other suitable accommodation immediately after entry and stay there permanently for a period of ten days after entry. In these cases, the quarantine requirement ends after five days for children under 12 years of age. Those entering from virus variant areas are required to go into domestic quarantine for 14 days.

Symptomless persons who are fully vaccinated or considered recovered after a Covid 19 infection do not need to go into quarantine after entry from a high-risk area, provided they enter the required evidence in the web portal.

Further 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. Persons who are considered fully vaccinated or recovered from a Covid 19 infection are also exempt from the requirement to self-isolate. More stringent regulations apply to persons entering Germany from virus-variant areas: Exceptions to the quarantine requirement apply only to fully vaccinated persons who have been immunized with a vaccine that is sufficiently effective against the respective virus variant. The relevant information is published by the Robert Koch Institute.

The period of quarantine can be terminated at the earliest five days after entering the country from a high-risk area. 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. If a high-risk area is removed from the list during the quarantine period, i.e. it is no longer classified as a risk area, the quarantine obligation ends immediately.

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. Visitors must show a current negative Corona test result, even if they have been vaccinated or have recovered. Exceptions apply, among others, to parents of underage patients.

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.

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.

Residents of nursing homes are allowed visits. Visits to care facilities are possible within minimum visiting hours (daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on at least two days from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

Nursing facility visitors must wear a medical or an 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 in the case of POC tests. PCR tests are valid for up to 48 hours. Vaccinated and recovered persons also have to provide a negative Corona test.

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.

Services

Hairdressing salons, beauty salons, solariums and all similar businesses are only allowed to open under 2G (VR) conditions. If it is not possible to comply with the mask requirement, visitors and customers must present a current negative test result in addition to their vaccination or recovery certificate.

Body care treatments that are necessary for medical, nursing, psychological or therapeutic reasons may take place without it being necessary to present a negative Corona test or proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. Staff and those treated must wear an FFP2 mask in this case, if possible.

The provision and use of paid sexual services is only permitted using the 2G (VR) model. Practices close to the face are not permitted. Sexual services may only be offered to individuals. Clients must make an appointment in advance and wear an FFP2 mask at all times. Service providers are also required to wear FFP2 masks. Prostitution events may be held when the 2G (VR) rule is used, as long as masks are worn or everyone provides a negative test result. Prostitution vehicles may not be operated.

Driving schools and all similar businesses may only open to the public using the 2G (VR) model.

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