These coronavirus restrictions apply in your German state over Easter
These coronavirus restrictions apply in your German state over Easter
The Easter long weekend is approaching, and many of us are no doubt looking forward to having a few days off work, the opportunity to relax and perhaps meet up with friends and family. But with Germany’s federal states implementing the coronavirus rules differently, many of you are probably asking: what is allowed in my area?
No tough Easter shutdown, but what are the rules?
With Germany now firmly in the third wave of coronavirus, the federal and state governments have agreed to extend the lockdown until at least April 18. Initially, they had also agreed to impose an “extended rest period” over the Easter holidays, but this has now been scrapped.
What remains, however, is the resolution to impose the so-called emergency brake (the rollback of any easing of lockdown restrictions) in areas where the seven-day incidence rate has risen above 100 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants on three consecutive days. But is this being consistently implemented over Easter? Here’s an overview of what each federal state is planning.
In Baden-Württemberg, the state government is insisting that the emergency brake be implemented in general, but restrictions are nonetheless being relaxed for private get-togethers over Easter. Since Monday, March 29, gatherings of up to five people from no more than two households have been permitted (excluding children up to the age of 14), even in regions with an incidence rate above 100.
If the incidence rate rises above 100 for several consecutive days, state authorities are planning to impose local curfews between 9 pm and 5 am. You can find a full list of coronavirus regulations on the state’s information portal (in German).
In Bavaria, the rules of the emergency brake apply. This means that in areas where the seven-day incidence rate is above 100, each household is only allowed to meet up with one other person from a different household - not including children up to the age of 14. A regional curfew will also apply between 10 pm and 5 am in these areas.
If the incidence is between 35 and 100, up to five people from two households may meet up. You can find more information on the Bavarian coronavirus website (in German).
Germany’s capital city is going its own way with coronavirus regulations. As of Wednesday, non-essential shops may remain open in Berlin, and appointments are no longer required, but shoppers must present negative coronavirus tests before being allowed to enter (the rule does not apply to essential shops like supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries and drugstores).
Companies that have client-facing staff must enable their employees to get themselves tested for coronavirus twice a week (but the employee is not obliged to take the test).
On Thursday, April 1, the Berlin Senate agreed to impose tighter contact restrictions from Good Friday onwards. Over the Easter weekend, meetings of up to five people from two different households are permitted during the daytime, excluding children, but between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am people are only allowed to be alone (with the members of their household) or in pairs.
After Easter, from Tuesday, April 6, the rules for private indoor meetings will be tightened. During the day, only the members of one household plus one other person will be allowed to meet up (children up to the age of 14 do not count). Visits are not permitted between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am, when households are asked to keep to themselves. You can find more information on the Berlin coronavirus website (in English).
With coronavirus infection rates relatively high in Brandenburg, the state will implement a 10 pm to 5 am curfew over the Easter period, from April 1 until the morning of April 6, in areas where the seven-day incidence rate remains above 100 for more than three days in a row. Exceptions will be made for essential journeys such as going to work.
In districts where the 100-mark has been exceeded, households may only meet up with one other person from a different household (excluding children up to the age of 14). In regions with an incidence of less than 100, up to five people from a maximum of two households may meet up. There are more details on the Brandenburg state website (in German).
Stricter coronavirus restrictions have been in effect in Bremen since Monday, due to rising infection rates. Appointment shopping has been suspended and recently-opened museums and botanical gardens have been forced to close once again.
However, contact rules have not been tightened: up to five people from a maximum of two households may still meet up in public or private, excluding children up to the age of 14. However, outdoor sports are only permitted on one’s own, with one other person, or with members of your own household.
In Bremerhaven, citizens also have to stay home between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am, until April 18. There is more information on the state’s coronavirus information portal (in German).
In Hamburg, stricter contact rules apply: members of one household are only allowed to meet up with one person from another household. According to the Senate, this restriction only applies if the minimum distance of 1,5 metres cannot be maintained.
A 9 pm to 5 am curfew will also be in place from Good Friday, April 2, initially until April 18. Hamburg residents are asked to stay home during these hours unless they have a valid reason to be outside, such as commuting to work. Jogging outside will also be allowed.
The city-wide ban on public alcohol consumption has, however, been lifted. It will be replaced by location- and time-specific ordinances - that is, drinking in public will be banned in places where, according to the assessment of the police, there are often large gatherings. You can find out more on the Hamburg state website (in English).
The public alcohol ban remains in place in Hesse, but contact restrictions are a little less severe. Meetings in public are permitted between up to a maximum of five people from two households. In regions where the number of infections is increasing, other regulations might be imposed, including night time curfews or school closures.
Some other stricter rules have also been in effect since Monday, including the replacement of appointment shopping with “Click & Collect” services. You can find out more on the Hesse state website (in German).
Since March 29, gatherings have only been possible in Lower Saxony with people from one household and a maximum of two people from another household, not including children up to the age of 14. Couples who do not live together are considered one household.
The rising infection rate means that stricter rules now apply in hotspots. If the seven-day incidence rate rises above 100 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants, each household may only meet up with one other person and their children up to the age of 6. In addition, other measures such as an extended mask requirement and a ban on entering some public places like parks may be implemented.
A night time curfew may be imposed if the incidence rate rises above 150 in any area. This applies in Hannover from Thursday. People in the city are not allowed to leave their homes without a valid reason between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am. You can find more details on the Lower Saxony state website (in English).
A maximum of five people from two households are allowed to meet up over Easter in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, again excluding children up to the age of 14. Couples who do not live together are considered one household.
After Easter, the rules for shopping are due to be tightened, making it mandatory for shoppers to have a negative coronavirus test (from April 6). This will also apply in hairdressers and beauty salons, but not for grocery stores, pharmacies or other essential shops.
If the incidence rate rises above 100 in any area, a night time curfew will be imposed from 9 pm to 6 am. There is more information on the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state portal (in German).
The state government in North Rhine-Westphalia has loosened the emergency brake a little, so that even in regions with incidence rates above 100, up to two households with a maximum of five people can meet up. Children up to the age of 14 do not count. Couples count as one household, regardless of their living circumstances.
The rules have also been loosened for shops, sports facilities and cultural institutions in high-incidence areas. They may remain open if all visitors present a negative rapid coronavirus test or self-test. More information on the North Rhine-Westphalia coronavirus portal (in German).
In Rhineland-Palatinate, private meetings are possible with members of your own household and another household, up to a maximum of five people. Children up to the age of 14 are not counted. In municipalities where the incidence rate is below 100, outdoor dining at restaurants and appointment shopping is permitted with rapid tests, reservations and contact tracing.
The emergency brake will be applied in municipalities with an incidence rate of above 100, although the exact rules have been left up to the individual municipalities to decide. Measures could include a 9 pm to 5 am curfew, contact restrictions and the closure of outdoor restaurant areas and shops. You can find more information on the Rhineland-Palatinate state website (in German).
Saarland plans to proceed with relaxing coronavirus restrictions after Easter - including the reopening of cinemas, theatres, gyms and outdoor dining areas at restaurants. After Easter, up to 10 people should be allowed to meet up.
Until then, the usual contact restrictions apply: up to five people from a maximum of two households may meet up, not including children up to the age of 14. There is more information on the Saarland state website (in German).
New regulations apply in Saxony from April 1 to April 18. In principle, regular contact restrictions remain in place, meaning that up to five people from a maximum of two households may meet up, not including children under the age of 15. Stricter rules may apply in some areas where the incidence rate is higher.
A mask requirement also applies in public in Saxony. From April 1, the regulation will apply to pedestrian zones between the hours of 6 am and midnight, as well as to playgrounds, weekly markets, schools, and when picking up and delivering food.
If the incidence rate rises above 100 for three days in a row, restrictions will be tightened, but shops, zoos, museums, galleries and memorials will be allowed to remain open, so long as the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in Saxony does not rise above 1.300. A negative coronavirus test will also be required to visit these places. More information can be found on the Saxony state website (in German).
In Saxony-Anhalt, the same contact rules will apply over the Easter holidays as before. In areas where the seven-day incidence rate is stable below 100, meetings with up to five people who are not part of your household are allowed. If the incidence rate rises above 100 for three consecutive days, only one guest is allowed to visit.
Given the currently high infection rate, no further reopening steps are planned in the state for the time being. You can find more information on the Saxony-Anhalt state website (in German).
Schleswig-Holstein has extended its shutdown until April 11, meaning existing restrictions for leisure, culture, tourism and gastronomy continue to apply. If the incidence rate rises above 100 on three consecutive days and the outbreak cannot be located to one source, households will only be allowed to meet up with one other person, not including children up to the age of 14.
Depending on the local incidence rate, shopping is possible in different ways. Shops remain open subject conditions in districts where the incidence rate is less than 50. There is more information on the Schleswig-Holstein state website (in German).
Despite the high incidence rate, Thuringia will relax its strict contact restrictions for a short time over the Easter holidays. From Good Friday up to and including Easter Monday, a maximum of five people from two households will be allowed to meet up in the eastern state. Children up to the age of 14 do not count. However, this change is still in its draft form, and so it is not clear whether it will actually be implemented.
“Click & Meet” is due to be possible from April 12, as long as the customer can provide a negative coronavirus test, while zoos and animal parks may reopen from April 10. You can find out more on the Thuringia coronavirus information portal (in German).
Have a happy Easter
No matter how confusing they are, it is important that you stick to the rules this Easter. We hope that you find a way to celebrate safely with friends and family. Happy Easter!