New travel rules in South Germany: Border closures and compulsory testing

New travel rules in South Germany: Border closures and compulsory testing

New travel rules in South Germany: Border closures and compulsory testing

In a bid to further prevent the spread of COVID-19, the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have both tightened their rules on travel. 

Bavaria introduces compulsory coronavirus testing

Just days before the Christmas holidays, the Bavarian state government has opted to tighten its entry regulations once again: From Wednesday, December 23, anyone who drives or flies into the state from a coronavirus risk area abroad will be subject to compulsory coronavirus testing. According to the cabinet decision, all returnees must present a test result to the responsible health office no later than 72 hours after entry. 

In practice, this means that anyone entering Bavaria from a foreign risk area must either present a negative test result upon arrival or immediately get themselves tested. The Chancellery said that rapid tests would be recognised as sufficient evidence, as well as tests completed abroad, but that they must not be older than 48 hours. 

The new test requirement does not, however, replace the old quarantine rules. That means that, immediately after presenting your negative test result or going for a test, you must go into mandatory quarantine. After five days at the earliest, you can take another test to end your quarantine period.

Test centres will be open at airports and municipal centres, and both the Bavarian police and the federal police are to “carry out more controls in the border area and at border crossings by both land and by air.” Anyone caught flouting the rules faces a fine of up to 25.000 euros. 

Baden-Württemberg effectively closes border to France and Switzerland

Bavaria’s neighbouring state Baden-Württemberg has also opted to step up travel restrictions by tightening controls on its borders with France and Switzerland. From Wednesday, December 23, a new corona entry regulation will come into effect. The ordinance’s primary aim is to prevent border crossings for the purposes of shopping, leisure or tourism. 

The new rule means that anyone who crosses the border for short (i.e. less than 24 hours) shopping or touristic trips in France or Switzerland will be required to quarantine for 10 days after their return. The state government said in a statement that the reason for entry or exit was the key factor in determining whether or not people needed to quarantine. 

“Quarantine-free entry for a stay of up to 24 hours in Baden-Württemberg or after a stay of up to 24 hours in a border region is only permitted if the entry or return journey is not primarily for tourist reasons or for the purpose of shopping,” the regulation states. This includes skiing trips.

The effective border closure does not apply to entries for professional, official, business, education, school, medical or family-related reasons. Transnational partnerships are not affected by the new regulation either. 



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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