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 decisions. Until further notice, these regulations will continue to apply until 18 April 2021.

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. Private gatherings are always only allowed with 1 more person that is not from one’s own household. Since 8 March, a maximum of five people from two households can meet (children up to the age of 14 are not counted) if the pandemic situation in the respective area allows it.

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: 

Quick tests are an important element when it comes to achieving more normality and safe interactions. From April 2021, everyone in Germany should therefore have the opportunity to benefit from a quick test at least once a week. This will also be possible in schools and day-care centres. The details on this are regulated by the federal states.

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. Germany started administering the vaccine on 27 December 2020. The vaccination ordinance determines who is vaccinated when:

  • initially, for example, people over the age of 80, residents and employees of care homes and facilities for the mentally handicapped, people working in medical facilities who have a very high risk of getting infected
  • subsequently, for example, people aged 70-80, people with trisomy 21, dementia, people with mental disabilities or very severe pre-existing conditions, organ transplant patients, people living in communal accommodation, certain contact persons. Employees in day-care centres and primary schools are also to be vaccinated quickly
  • subsequently, for example, people aged 60-70, people with severe pre-existing conditions, the police and fire brigade, people working in the retail sector

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. The federal states and the councils/municipalities are setting up the vaccination centres and are allocating time slots. Anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated will be informed by them. All of those eligible to get vaccinated will be vaccinated twice within a few weeks. 

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!

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

Information on vaccination
(Source: Robert Koch Institute)

Everyday life and public life

Private gatherings are only allowed with 1 more person that is not from one’s own household. Since 8 March, a maximum of five people from two households can meet (children up to the age of 14 are not counted) if the pandemic situation in the respective area allows it.

On local public transport, when shopping as well as in all places open to the public and in open air, in which people remain in a confined space or for long periods of time, a medical (surgical) face mask must be worn. You must also wear a medical (surgical) face mask at work or at business premises if a distance of 1.5 metres to other persons cannot be safely kept at your desk/workspace. In this case, the employer must provide such masks. Wherever possible, employers must enable employees to work from home.

The following shops/institutions are open:

  • Food shops and shops selling items for urgent daily needs (pharmacies, opticians, drug stores, post offices, banks, bookshops and garden centres)
  • Religious services in churches, mosques and synagogues are subject to the following rules: Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres, wearing a medical (surgical) mask is mandatory also when seated, no singing by the congregation
  • Day-care centres and schools (with emergency care, distance learning and alternation between distance learning and classroom lessons)
  • Hairdressers

Since 8 March, some establishments can gradually open, for example, retailers, museums, zoos and botanic gardens if the pandemic situation in the respective area allows it.

Overnight stays in hotels for touristic purposes are prohibited. The consumption of alcoholic beverages in public is prohibited.

If the infection rate is too high in individual counties, the federal states can restrict the residents’ radius of movement to 15 kilometres from one’s place of residence. Exceptions for just causes are possible, for example, visits to the doctor or commuting to work. You can find information about this topic on the websites of the federal states.

Frequently asked questions
(Source: Federal government)

General information on the coronavirus
(Source: Handbookgermany.de)

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.

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

00:59

Video Informationen zum Reisen

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.

Anyone wishing to enter Germany from a region designated as a risk area must complete a digital entry registration form before entry. In addition, they must undergo a coronavirus test within 48 hours prior to entry or undergo a test immediately thereafter, self-quarantine (for 10 days;if the person then tests negative, the quarantine can be ended from the 5th day after entry. They may not receive guests and must report to the local health authority! Fines will be imposed for violating the obligation to quarantine. Find out where you can get tested after entry by calling 116 117. 

When entering Germany from a region designated as a high-risk area, a test must be conducted before entry and you must present evidence that the test was carried out. High-risk areas are areas with a particularly high number of cases (areas with a high incidence) and regions in which certain virus variants (areas with virus variants) have spread.

The list of countries designated as a risk and high-risk area is updated daily at the Robert Koch Institute.

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))