Masks and tests: These coronavirus rules apply in Germany from October

Masks and tests: These coronavirus rules apply in Germany from October

The German Bundestag on Thursday approved an amended version of the Infection Protection Act. Here’s an overview of the coronavirus rules that will apply in the federal republic from October. 

Germany’s autumn coronavirus rules

The Bundestag voted to adopt the Health Ministry’s autumn COVID proposal, meaning that - pending the Bundesrat’s approval - the ordinance will come into effect on October 1 and stay in force until April 7, 2023. The package of requirements is designed to prepare and protect the country from the development of the coronavirus pandemic, as we move into the autumn and winter

“We are very well prepared,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told the Bundestag on Wednesday. 

The new set of rules is virtually the same as was originally announced by Lauterbach back in August, with some minor changes. Some rules will apply nationwide, while others will be up to the discretion of individual federal states, depending on the pandemic situation. Here is a brief overview of what’s been agreed upon. 

Nationwide COVID-rules

The following requirements will be implemented nationwide and regulated uniformly by the federal government.

Masks required on long-distance trains, but not aeroplanes

Everyone over the age of 14 will be required to wear an FFP2 face mask on long-distance trains in Germany. For children between the ages of six and 13, a surgical face mask is sufficient. People who can demonstrate a medical exemption are not required to wear a mask. 

On aeroplanes and in airports in Germany, on the other hand, there will no longer be a mask requirement. This applies to both domestic and international flights. The government may decide to change this rule if the number of COVID cases starts to rise rapidly. 

Masks and tests required in hospitals and nursing homes

The rules will be tightened up in German hospitals and nursing homes. From October, all employees and visitors will be required to wear an FFP2 mask in these settings. Visitors will be asked to show a negative (rapid) coronavirus test, while staff will be required to test themselves three times a week. 

Mask requirement in doctors’ practices

FFP2 masks will also be made compulsory in GP surgeries and other outpatient medical facilities. 

State-specific rules

The following rules can be implemented by the individual federal states, depending on the local coronavirus situation, but are not mandatory nationwide:

*If a state makes masks compulsory in areas like leisure, cultural and sporting events as well as at restaurants and bars, they can choose to implement exemptions. People who can prove any of the following might not be required to wear a mask: 

  • A recent negative test 
  • A recent COVID infection (within three months)
  • A COVID jab in the last three months 

If the COVID situation deteriorates to the point where the healthcare system is coming under pressure, the federal states will also be able to implement other, tougher measures like mask and distance requirements in public outdoor spaces. 

However, lockdowns, business and school closures are not part of the government’s autumn COVID plan, no matter how critical the situation is. 

Bundesrat to vote on autumn COVID Act on September 16

The updated Act still needs the approval of the Bundesrat. A vote is scheduled to take place on September 16, but since the current proposal has been changed to reflect the wishes of state politicians and others, it seems likely that it will be passed. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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