Authorities in Germany plan to tighten the nation's coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions due to an increase in infection rates. Effective Nov. 2, the following measures will be in place:
- Restaurants and bars will close; delivery and carryout services will still be permitted.
- Public recreation centers, including gyms, swimming pools, and saunas, will be closed; many entertainment facilities, such as cinemas and theaters, will also close.
- Large events are suspended.
- Public gatherings are limited to 10 people from two different households.
- Employees are advised to work from home whenever possible.
- Tourism-related hotel stays are suspended.
- Nonessential travel is discouraged.
International entry restrictions also remain in effect in Germany. Travelers arriving in the country who have stayed in high-risk areas within the previous 14 days must self-isolate for 14 days upon entry. Local laws in some states allow the quarantine to be shorter if a traveler produces proof of having tested negative for COVID-19.
As of Oct. 27, Germany's federal disease control and prevention agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), lists the following as locations at high risk for COVID-19:
- Austria: Burgenland, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Upper Austria
- Bulgaria: Sofia, Razgrad, Sliven
- Croatia: Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Zagreb, Varaždin, Bjelovar-Bilogora
- Estonia: Jogeva; Gibraltar; Hungary - Heves, Somogy, Zala
- Italy: Abruzzo, Aosta Valley, Bolzano, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Latium, Lombardy, Piedmont, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria, Venezia
- Slovenia: Goriska, Posavska
- Sweden: Jonkoping, Ostergotland
- UK (excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
Spain's Canary Islands and Ida-Viru in Estonia have been removed from the RKI's high-risk areas list.
Most travelers from outside of the EEA, with the exception of those from Australia, Canada, Georgia, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, the UK, and Uruguay, remain prohibited from entering the country. Limited exceptions are made for EU citizens and residents, diplomats, essential workers, students, freight and transport workers, individuals in transit, and for urgent reasons decided on a case-by-case basis. All such arrivals are subject to a mandatory self-isolation period as detailed above; this measure does not apply to transport and freight workers.
Protective face coverings are required in most public spaces nationwide, including on public transport and in retail shops; where possible, people from different households should remain a minimum of 1.5 m (5 feet) apart. Most nonessential businesses are permitted to reopen; however, limits have been placed on the number of customers in the store, and queues should be avoided.
The power to ease or reimpose COVID-19 measures largely rests with German states. Accordingly, regional restrictions can vary. Some areas have seen localized stay-at-home orders in response to spikes in case numbers.
Authorities could further ease, tighten, or otherwise amend restrictions with little-to-no notice based on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel plans and business appointments and allow additional time for processing if arriving from an area of high COVID-19 activity. Carry proper identification and other necessary travel documents to present at security checks. 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.