Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Germany to ease contact restrictions imposed to control spread of COVID-19 from June 6; others extended until at least June 29.

This alert affects Germany

This alert began 27 May 2020 15:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Germany will permit private indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 persons as of June 6. Restrictions on gatherings were imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Hygiene and social distancing rules should be observed at private gatherings in closed rooms. Additionally, authorities have extended social distancing rules up to June 29.

The power to ease COVID-19 measures largely rests with German states. Accordingly, several states have eased restrictions or will do so in the coming days. As of May 25, hotels and self-service accommodations in Berlin, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony may reopen for guests. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, travelers from outside the state may be permitted entry for overnight stays only; day trips are not permitted. In Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Wurttemberg, hotels will reopen from May 28 and May 29, respectively. In Bavaria, hotels and indoor restaurants will open from May 30. Most hotels may not exceed 60 percent occupancy.

Authorities previously permitted most nonessential businesses nationwide to reopen. However, limits have been placed on the number of customers in the store and queues should be avoided. Residents are also required to observe the country's social distancing guidelines and wear face masks while in public. Outdoor leisure spaces, including gardens and zoos, reopened May 1. Cultural facilities, including houses of worship and museums, also reopened May 1.

Temporary entry and exit restrictions at the country's air, land, and sea borders remain in effect. While all land border crossings have been reopened, restrictions are set to persist through at least June 15. Authorities will deny entry to individuals without a necessary reason for travel; travelers should bring evidence of valid travel reasons to present upon arrival. Valid reasons for travel include nationals and residents returning home, cross-border commuters, and freight transport. Processing delays at checkpoints are likely. Individuals returning or traveling to Germany are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Germany are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel plans and business appointments. Carry proper identification and other necessary travel documents to present at security checks. Plan for processing delays if traveling or routing freight across German borders. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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