What do you currently need to know about corona (Englisch)

With our behaviour, everyone of us can contribute to protecting ourselves, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions against the coronavirus. The government has taken measures to contain the spread of the virus, to avoid a breakdown of the healthcare system and to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. The federal government publishes information on the current state of affairs regarding the coronavirus on various channels and in various languages. Here’s an overview of the most important information.

Grafische Darstellung des Coronavirus mit dem Text "Was Sie jetzt über Corona wissen müssen" - Verhaltenstipps, Arbeitsrecht und Reisebestimmungen auf einen Blick"
Foto: Integrationsbeauftragte

Health and tips on conduct

Just like previously, the following applies: Keep contact with others to a minimum wherever possible and limit yourself to a constant group of people.

What remains important: Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres to other people, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, cover your mouth and nose and air rooms regularly. When using public transport and entering shops, you must wear a medical mask or so-called surgical masks or respirator masks in accordance with the FFP2 or a similar standard.

Regular coronavirus tests: Rapid tests are an important element when it comes to achieving more normality and safe interactions. From April 2021, everyone in Germany has the opportunity to benefit from a rapid test at least once a week. All companies are obliged to offer tests twice a week to employees that do not work exclusively from home.

Tips on health and on conduct can be found in several languages at the Federal Ministry of Health.

Use the federal government’s Corona Warning app like millions of other people in Germany. The more people participate, the more effectively the app can protect us.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 – Information and practical advice
(Source: Federal Ministry of Health)

Back to normality - the Corona Warning app for Germany
(Source: Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration)

Advice for people who are not sick and are in quarantine following consultation with the health authority
(Source: Robert Koch Institute)

Self-isolation at home in case of confirmed infection with COVID-19: Flyer for patients and their relatives
(Source: Robert Koch Institute)

Tested positive for coronavirus - what now?
(Source: Commissioner for Integration of the Bavarian State Government)

The Top 10 tips for hygiene
(Source: Federal Centre for Health Education)

Coronavirus protective vaccine

By getting vaccinated with the coronavirus protective vaccine, you help protect yourself, your family and the most vulnerable members of our society. Anyone who resides in Germany, is ordinarily resident in Germany or works in certain care facilities in Germany but does not live in Germany has the right to get the vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is voluntary and the vaccine is administered free of charge in vaccination centres or at doctor’s offices. By calling 116 117, you can find out when and where you can get vaccinated. 

The vaccines have been checked thoroughly with regards to tolerability, safety and efficacy. Even after vaccination, the following applies: Keeping your distance and wearing a mask is mandatory!

Vaccinefacts
(Source: Federal government)

Information on the vaccination ordinance
(Source: Federal Ministry of Health)

Information on vaccination
(Source: Robert Koch Institute)

Everyday life and public life

The federal “emergency brake” adopted by the federal government and the states that is expected to expire on 30 June 2021, provides for various measures to be implemented once the incidence rate exceeds 100. The federal states may also adopt stricter regulations. With incidence rates below 100, the regulations of the states apply. You can find information about this topic on the websites of the federal states.

If, for three consecutive days, the number of new infections in one county or a city not associated with a county exceeds 100 per 100,000 residents in the last 7 days (incidence rate over 100), stricter rules apply automatically:

  • Private gatherings: 1 household may only meet with one more person (children up to the age of 14 are not counted).
  • Curfew: Leaving one’s home is not allowed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Exceptions: Going for a walk alone or exercising alone is allowed until 12 a.m or going out for an important reason (work, medical emergency).
  • Food shops and shops selling items for urgent daily needs remain open (pharmacies, opticians, drug stores, post offices, banks, bookshops and garden centres). Other shops may only be visited with an appointment and a negative test result and they must close if the incidence rate exceeds 150.
  • Schools and day-care centres: In case of face-to-face sessions, teachers and students must be tested twice a week. If the incidence rate exceeds 165, no face-to-face sessions (possible exception: graduating classes) and no regular care provision in day-care centres.
  • Hairdressers remain open, but negative test required.
  • Eateries remain closed, but pick-up and food delivery possible.
  • Culture and leisure facilities remain closed, e.g. cinemas theatres, museums.
  • Religious services in churches, mosques and synagogues continue to be allowed subject to the following rules: Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres, wearing a medical (surgical) is mandatory, no singing by the congregation.

This measures apply until the incidence rate is below 100 for five consecutive working days. Important to bear in mind: If the incidence rate is below 100, the rules and restrictions adopted by the federal state in which you reside apply.

New from May 2021: If you were fully vaccinated against coronavirus or recovered from a coronavirus disease no longer than six months ago, you are subject to fewer restrictions: You can meet with an unlimited number of people who are also vaccinated or recovered. During gatherings with non-vaccinated people, you are not counted. You do not have to observe a curfew and are treated the same way as people who were tested negative, for example when shopping, going to the hairdresser’s or entering Germany from abroad.

You also do not have to quarantine after entering Germany from abroad. Exception: There is still a mandatory quarantine of 14 days when arriving from an area with mutated virus strains.

A lab test (PCR, PoC-PCR) is accepted as proof for having recovered from coronavirus, provided that the test is at least 28 days old and not older than 6 months. The full vaccination must have been received not earlier than 14 days.

Frequently asked questions
(Source: Federal government)

Work and money

Protection against dismissal also applies during the coronavirus pandemic. If your employer has mandated short-time work, you can receive a short-time allowance for up to 24 months. It can be up to 87% of your loss of earnings. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs provides information on labour law issues in several languages.

The employer must enable its employees to work from home, unless compelling operative reasons contradict this. The employees must accept this offer if no reasons contradict this.

There is also support for companies, regardless of how big they are. There are loans, subsidies or tax concessions. All information on this is available from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.

Students under acute financial strain can apply for a subsidy from their student services (Studierendenwerk). It amounts to up to 500 euros each month. Furthermore, there is the KfW student loan, which is also available to foreign students.

Advice for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) & self-employed persons
(Source: Competence Centre on Migrant Entrepreneurship in the network “Integration through Qualification (IQ)”)

Travelling

Generally, travel that is not essential should be avoided. Individual states, even within the EU, may continue to restrict entry or prescribe quarantine upon entry. Before you travel, please familiarise yourself with the current entry restrictions and border controls with the Federal Foreign Office and with the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Any persons who travel to Germany from a risk area, an area of high incidence or an area where virus variants are present must fill out a  digital entry registration form. The countries to which this applies are listed by the Robert Koch Institute, and this information is updated daily. 

You must be able to provide evidence of a negative test before you enter the country if you have arrived by plane. If you have arrived by any means from a high incidence area or an area in which virus variants are present, you must also provide evidence of a negative test. In the case of other arrivals from a risk area, you must provide evidence of a negative test within 48 hours of arriving in the country.

After arriving in the country, all travellers must enter into quarantine at home for a period of 10 days. This period is increased to 14 days if you have arrived from an area in which virus variants are present.

New from May 2021: If you test negative for COVID-19, have received a full vaccination against it or you have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, you do not have to enter quarantine after arriving from a risk area. When arriving from an area of high incidence, persons testing negative must enter quarantine for a period of 10 days. From the fifth day onwards, they may leave quarantine if they provide evidence of a further negative test. Persons who have received a full vaccination against COVID-19 or who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection must only provide evidence of a negative test if they have arrived from an area in which virus variants are present. You can find all the information from the Federal Ministry of Health.

Protection against violence

An exceptional situation for the whole family - Tips for preventing violence in the family caused by coronavirus contact restrictions PDF, 501 KB, barrierefrei
(Source: The Federal Government’s Representative for Migrants, Refugees and Integration and Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum e.V. (Ethno-Medical Centre)

Free support hotline (08000 116 016), consultation via chat and email  on domestic violence
(Source: Bundesamt für Familie und zivilgesellschaftliche Aufgaben - Federal Office for the family and duties related to the civil society)

Advice in case of physical and sexual abuse
(Source: The Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues (UBSKM))