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Easter under lockdown: What is and isn't allowed over the holidays?

Easter under lockdown: What is and isn't allowed over the holidays?

Easter under lockdown: What is and isn't allowed over the holidays?

In Germany, Easter is typically spent with family and friends, with lots of traditional food and maybe even a short trip away to make the most of the double national holiday

But with social distancing requirements, travel restrictions and mass shutdowns in place until at least April 19, the ongoing coronavirus crisis has thrown everything out of whack. State by state, we break down exactly what is and isn’t allowed over the Easter holidays this year. 

Baden-Württemberg

While private gatherings of up to five people are permitted in Baden-Württemberg, State Premier Winfred Kretschmann has advised people not to visit relatives or friends over the Easter period, to keep social contacts to a minimum. 

If you own a second home within the state, you are permitted to visit it, and day trips are also allowed. Tourism Minister Guido Wolf has, however, requested that people avoid top attractions like Lake Constance or the Black Forest. It is likely that municipalities will once again close car parks and promenades at popular locations. 

Bavaria

In Bavaria, no one is supposed to leave their home “without good reason”. This could be going to work, to the doctor or to buy food, but does not include camping or caravanning trips or visits to second homes. Family visits should only be made if parents or grandparents are dependent on support, for instance, to do their shopping. 

On the other hand, excursions are possible, and plenty of Bavaria’s larger parks will remain open for hiking, but only with members of your immediate household. Visits to allotment gardens are allowed, but barbecues and picnics in the park are not. 

Berlin

In Berlin, you’ll have to celebrate Easter alone. Gatherings of any kind - even within your own four walls - are forbidden and you’ll need a “good reason” to get out. Trips to second homes or visiting relatives in other federal states are, therefore, not allowed. 

Exercising in the fresh air is, however, permitted and for these purposes you are allowed to leave the city and return - for example, if you wanted to go for a bike ride in Brandenburg. Note, however, that these excursions must expressly be for sporting - and not touristic - purposes. 

Brandenburg

In Brandenburg, private celebrations must be limited to members of your own household. Gatherings with other people - including family celebrations, excursions, church services and Easter fires - are expressly forbidden. 

While you are permitted to move freely within the state, alone, with one other person, or with members of your own household - for instance, to visit a holiday home or to go hiking - Brandenburgers have been urged to refrain from excursions. The district of Ostprignitz-Ruppin has even imposed an entry ban.

Bremen

Bremen is one state that has slightly relaxed restrictions over Easter. According to local news site butenunbinnen, celebrations at home, even with several people who do not live in the same household, are theoretically permitted. However, it is not recommended. 

Overnight tourist stays are not permitted anywhere in the state. There has so far been no explicit regulation on the use of second homes. 

Hamburg

While in principle, visits to or from relatives is not prohibited in Hamburg, Mayor Peter Tschentscher emphasised that family visits over Easter should be avoided if possible. 

There is currently no curfew, entry or exit ban in the Hanseatic city, and both Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein will permit entry to those visiting relatives. However, no overnight tourist stays will be permitted. 

Hesse

Hesse’s State Premier Volker Bouffier has appealed for residents not to visit family and friends or to take day trips over the Easter period, but in theory, private visits to a single person outside one’s household are still permitted. You are only allowed to be in public on your own, with one other person, or with members of your own household. 

Travel for touristic purposes is banned across the state and the state government has recommended that parking spots at public excursion destinations be blocked off. At Edersee in northern Hesse, people were forced to leave their second homes after the district banned their use. 

Lower Saxony

The strict ban on visiting people from outside your own household has recently been relaxed to allow Easter visits to relatives and close friends, according to Bild. Visits to grandparents should, however, be avoided because of the high risk of infection and authorities are still recommending that social contacts be kept to an absolutely necessary minimum. 

Some areas, for example, those on the North Sea coast, have been closed to tourists and second home owners. 

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Family gatherings are not prohibited in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as long as they are private visits to nuclear family members who have their primary residence in Mecklenbug-Vorpommern. 

Locals have, however, been prohibited from taking day trips within the state over the Easter weekend, for example to the Baltic islands or towns along the coast. Public order officers have been examining vehicle registrations and those who do not live in the state are being asked to leave. 

North Rhine-Westphalia

“Even if visits at Easter are not expressly forbidden in North Rhine-Westphalia, do not do it,” said a spokesperson from the Ministry of Health. Indeed, there are no rules about gatherings between your own four walls in Germany’s most populous state, meaning that family and friends can, in theory, be invited, but it is strongly not recommended. 

Trips to private apartments or second homes are still allowed, but citizens have all been encouraged to forego tourist trips during the Easter holidays. This includes day trips within the state or to neighbouring countries. 

Rhineland-Palatinate

There is essentially no ban on visiting parents, grandparents, siblings or friends at Easter in Rhineland-Palatinate, but the guidance is still that social contacts should be kept to an absolute minimum. 

There is no precise regulation about the use of second homes in the state but holiday homes cannot be rented out to tourists and hotels remain closed. 

Saarland

In Saarland, visits to family, friends and acquaintances outside one’s own household are not permitted. The state government writes: “People who do not live in your household may neither be visited nor received in private residences.” 

As in several other federal states, to leave your home in Saarland you need a good reason, such as going to work or shopping. In general, exercise in the fresh air is permitted, as long as you are alone, with one other person or with the people you live with. 

Saxony

In Saxony, visits from relatives must be cancelled this Easter. Family gatherings are only permitted if everyone is registered at the same primary or secondary residence. This ruling does not, however, apply to life partners, so couples can meet up. 

Sport and exercise should primarily take place in the vicinity of your home address. Excursions in the surrounding area are prohibited, unless you are visiting a second home. 

Saxony-Anhalt

Family visits are allowed in Saxony-Anhalt, within reason. Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne told mdr, “By that I mean family members within our state. I don’t mean you should have a big party at the allotment with all your cousins, siblings and grandparents.” 

Tourist trips into Saxony-Anhalt are not permitted. Neither are you allowed to visit a second home. A shorter Easter walk in your local area is, however, allowed.

Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein is urging its residents to reduce contact with other people outside their own household to an absolute minimum. However, there is no ban on visiting family members at home. Anyone who lives in another federal state and wants to visit relatives in Schleswig-Holstein will also be allowed to enter. 

Excursions are allowed, provided you are alone, with one other person or with people from your own household. This applies to all activities in public. There is, however, currently a ban on tourists, day-trippers and second home owners across the state. Anyone who is already in their second home is allowed to stay, except those on the islands and in Halligen. 

Thuringia

In principle, visits to one other person are allowed in Thuringia, unless that person happens to live in a retirement home. Nonetheless, residents are being urged to reduce physical and social contacts to an absolutely necessary minimum. 

In public spaces you can only be alone, in pairs or with your household members - this also applies to Easter walks. Thuringia State Premier has urged people to enjoy the weather from the safety of their own gardens. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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