- On 21 December 2021 the Federal and Länder Governments agreed to update the coronavirus rules. These are regarded as minimum, generally applicable standards. Federal states that are particularly hard hit can impose more rigorous restrictions.
- From 28 December 2021 onwards, restrictions on private contacts will also apply to vaccinated and recovered persons. Gatherings are still allowed with a maximum of ten people.
- Everyone is required to wear a mask wherever gatherings occur in a confined space. Distancing and access rules continue to apply as appropriate to the pandemic situation, as do hygiene concepts. In schools, masks are compulsory at all grade levels.
- 2G (vaccinated/recovered) or 3G (vaccinated/recovered/tested) applies in many instances in order to curb the spread of the virus.
- Due to the current pandemic situation, the Bundestag has adopted amendments to the Infection Protection Act. Among other things, employees who work at hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions must provide proof of being vaccinated or having recovered from COVID-19 by 15 March 2022.
Regulations affecting specific areas:
Private gatherings at public or private locations attended by persons who are not vaccinated or recovered are limited to the person’s own household plus a maximum of two other persons from another household. Children up to the age of 14 are not included in this number.
In order to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, private gatherings of vaccinated and recovered persons will only be allowed up to a maximum of ten people from no later than 28 December 2021. Children up to the age of 14 are not included in this number.
If a gathering includes an unvaccinated person, the contact restrictions apply in the same way as for unvaccinated persons.
Following an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, the federal states already have the option of limiting the number of persons allowed at private gatherings – not only for the unvaccinated but also for those who are vaccinated or recovered.
Access to cultural and recreational facilities and events (such as cinemas, theatres, restaurants, etc.) is only permitted for vaccinated and recovered persons (2G). An up-to-date test may be required in addition (2G+). This applies nationwide, regardless of infection rates. Exceptions apply only to those who cannot be vaccinated.
The 2G rule also applies in shops nationwide and regardless of incidence. Shops selling groceries and convenience goods are exempt from this rule. Shops are responsible for controlling access.
Clubs and discos will be closed from no later than 28 December 2021. These regulations are laid down by the federal states.
In addition, following an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, the federal states have the power to temporarily close down restaurants and prohibit trade fairs and conferences in the event of a critical pandemic situation.
Large-scale sporting, cultural and similar events will take place without spectators as of no later than 28 December 2021.
Until that date, only 30 to 50 percent of capacity may be used at indoor events – up to a maximum total of 5,000 spectators. At outdoor events, only 30 to 50 percent of capacity may be used – up to a maximum total of 15,000 spectators. Medical masks must be worn in all of these instances. Only vaccinated or recovered persons are allowed to attend such events. Participants may be required to present an up-to-date test in addition (2G+).
There is a general ban on the sale of fireworks before New Year’s Eve this year. In addition, there is a ban on gatherings and get-togethers on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
People are generally advised not to set off New Year’s Eve fireworks, not least in view of the risk of injury and the fact that the healthcare system is already under considerable strain.
Special protection must be provided for residents of nursing and care homes as well as homes for those with disabilities and other particularly vulnerable groups.
For this reason, the Bundestag has adopted a so-called “facility-based” vaccine mandate. Employees who work at hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions must provide proof of being vaccinated or having recovered from COVID-19 by 15 March.
All visitors and employees must present a negative test certificate on a daily basis. This also applies to those who are vaccinated.
Nationwide, only recovered, vaccinated or tested persons are allowed to go to their place of work (3G). Compliance with this 3G rule is to be monitored and documented by the employer on a daily basis. To this end, all employers must also have the relevant right to obtain and hold this information vis-à-vis their employees. In addition, employers are to continue to offer free testing at least twice a week. Employees should be allowed to work from home wherever there are no practical obstacles.
On local public transport as well as on regional and long-distance trains, the 3G rule applies in addition to the requirement that passengers wear masks. Unless passengers have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, they must carry proof of a negative rapid antigen test when using any mode of public transport. The test must have been carried out no more than 24 hours prior to the start of the journey.