Authorities in Germany have extended domestic restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until at least Dec. 20, as infection rates are yet to decline significantly. Officials will review and possibly amend measures starting Dec. 20 through the Christmas holiday period. Restrictions remaining in place as of Dec. 1 include:
Restaurants and bars remain closed except for delivery and carryout services.
Public recreation centers and entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, saunas, cinemas, and theaters, are closed.
Large events are suspended.
Public gatherings are limited to five people from two different households (reduced from 10 people as of Dec. 1).
Employees are advised to work from home whenever possible.
Tourism-related hotel stays are suspended.
Nonessential travel is discouraged.
Protective facemasks 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 allowed in stores at a time.
The power to ease or reimpose domestic 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 are maintaining international entry restrictions as of Nov. 30. Travelers arriving in the country who have visited high-risk areas within the previous 10 days must self-isolate for 10 days upon entry. However, federal law allows individual states to determine the duration of isolation; some states may allow travelers to leave quarantine after five days if they can produce proof of having tested negative for COVID-19. As of Nov. 29, Germany's federal disease control and prevention agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), has designated the following additional locations as high-risk areas:
Estonia: Tartu region
Greece: Western Greece Region
Portugal, excluding Madeira
The Midlands, South-West, and West regions of Ireland and the Peloponnese Region of Greece are no longer considered to be high risk.
Most travelers from outside of the EEA, with the exception of those from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK, and Uruguay, remain prohibited from entry. Limited exceptions are made for EEA 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.
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.