State by state: How much do you have to pay for flouting Germany’s coronavirus rules?

State by state: How much do you have to pay for flouting Germany's coronavirus rules?
Public order office workers in Bonn on Monday. Photo: DPA
Germany has banned gatherings of more than two people as part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, and those who break the rules face steep fines. Here’s an overview of fines throughout the 16 states.

States across the country are finalising what punishments people who flout the restrictions should face. They can differ from state to state because Germany is a federal country.

In case of doubt, authorities can refer back to the penalty framework of the IfSG (Protection Against Infection Act) which stipulates that fines of up to €25,000 and prison sentences of up to two years are possible.

If someone becomes infected with coronavirus due to another person breaking the rules, a prison sentence up to five years is possible.

The restrictions will initially be in place across Germany up to and including April 19th.

READ ALSO: German virologists say people 'initially immune' after coronavirus infection

North Rhine-Westphalia

The 'Corona Fines' catalogue from Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has served as a model for authorities in most other states.

NRW had the first major coronavirus hotspot in Germany – in the district of Heinsberg – and had to react quickly.

Here’s what applies in NRW (other federal states follow in alphabetical order).

READ ALSO: 'Punish the unreasonable': North Rhine-Westphalia introduces steep coronavirus lockdown fines

To implement the 'ban on contact' (Kontaktverbot) the state government published a catalogue of penalties and fines. The amounts are based on the provisions of the Infection Protection Act.

Fines between €200 and a maximum of €25,000 can be handed to offenders under the law. This is regulated by the Protection Against Infection Act in conjunction with the Corona Protection Ordinance (CoronaSchVO).

These are the fines for people who do not comply with the regulations:

  • Public gathering of more than 2 people (unless covered by exceptions): €200 per participant
  • People who do not keep the minimum distance of 1,50 meters: €200
  • Public gatherings of more than 10 people: logged as a criminal offence (fine up to €25,000 or imprisonment up to 5 years)
  • People who have a barbecue/picnic in public: up to €250 per person involved
  • Eating takeaway food and/or drinks within a radius of less than 50 metres of a catering establishment: €200 per customer

People gather in the sun in Dortmund on Sunday. Photo: DPA

People who endanger risk groups:

  • Unauthorised visits to nursing homes and hospitals: €200 per visitor
  • In addition, anyone who takes part in a public event could face a fine of €400

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The above amounts apply to a first offence – in particularly serious cases they can be doubled. In cases of repetition, a fine of up to €25,000 may be imposed.

For operators of retail and food/drink outlets:

  • Operation of bars, clubs, discos: €5,000
  • Operation of amusement arcades: €5,000
  • Operation of fitness and tanning studios: €5,000 
  • Operation of restaurants, cafés, pubs: €4,000
  • Operation of hairdressing salons, beauty salons: €2,000 
  • Non-compliance with hygiene regulations: €1,000
  • Failure to comply with the required distances in the context of out-of-home sales: €1,000 for the owner or management
  • Vendors at weekly markets selling goods viewed as non-essential: €500 for owners of the market stall

For operators of homes and hospitals:

  • Despite the availability of the necessary material, there is no assurance that measures to protect people are being taken: €2,000 for facility management
  • Failure to comply with the specifications on protective measures and hygiene instruction: €800 for facility management

READ ALSO: Germany bans gatherings of more than two to control coronavirus spread

Baden-Württemberg

The state government in Stuttgart is following the catalogue of fines imposed by NRW.  Here are a few other examples:

  • Anyone who is on the streets and in squares with more than two people not part of their family or household is liable for a fine of between €100 and €1,000
  • Anyone who continues to operate a hairdressing salon, bar or club that has been closed down because of coronavirus is liable to fines of between €2,500 and €5,000 
  • And those who visit a hospital or a nursing home despite the ban risk a fine between €250 and €1,500
  • Repeated violations can cost up to €25,000 

Bavaria

Since Friday March 27th, a separate catalogue of fines has been available as a guideline to all district administrative authorities in Bavaria. Public life has come to a standstill in the southern state after a lockdown was introduced on March 21st.

  • A violation of the restrictions is usually punishable by a fine of €150
  • According to the catalogue of fines, €150 must be paid not only by those who leave their home without good reason, but also by those who do not keep the minimum distance of 1.5 metres to other people
  • Anyone who enters a hospital or nursing home without permission is liable to a fine of €500
  • Shop or restaurant owners who open their business without permission are threatened with a fine of €5,000
  • According to the health and interior ministry in Bavaria, it's considered a criminal offence if people in groups violate the curfew

Meanwhile, the city of Augsburg has set a uniform fine: if someone does not react to an initial warning, they must expect to be reported by police, and €55 is due immediately (per person).

In Bavaria the rates can become lower or higher in some cases. For example in the case of repeated violations, the standard rates would be doubled, in the case of negligent behaviour, they would be halved.

Berlin

As The Local reported, violations of the coronavirus partial lockdown restrictions can result in steep fines in the German capital.

People in Tempelhof Field on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Berlin's catalogue of fines provides for fines of €25 to €500 if people form groups of more than two people and resist police requests to go home.

Being outside your own home or accommodation without a valid reason can be punished with €10 to €100

There are also high fines for operators of venues. For example, opening a restaurant can cost the operator €1000 to €10,000. Anyone offering tourist overnight stays in the capital can expect fines of between €1,000 and €10,000.

READ ALSO: 'Rest breaks are allowed': What you need to know about Berlin's new coronavirus rules and fines

Brandenburg

A catalogue of fines has been in force in Brandenburg since Thursday. Those who violate the regulations must expect sometimes severe fines of up to €25,000.

Those who take part in a public event in spite of the ban, for example, face fines of between €50 and €500.

The organisers of the event face €500 to €2,500. Those who do not keep the minimum distance of 1.5 meters could have to pay between €50 and €500

Bremen

Bremen has issued a catalogue of fines for violations of the quarantine order in the coronavirus crisis. Interior minister Ulrich Mäurer, of the Social Democrats, presented the list on Friday, which provides for fines ranging from €50 to €5,000.

Here's a few examples:

  • A person who knows they have coronavirus has to pay €400 if they leave their self-quarantine without a special reason or without the approval of the health authorities
  • In the case of gatherings in public places of more than two people, €50 to €150 fines can be issued to each person involved
  • Those who organise public or private events face paying between €250 and €2,500
  • The highest fines are due for unauthorised operation of day care, schools or day care centres. In repeated cases, the fines can rise to €25,000
     

Hamburg

The Hanseatic city was one of the first federal states to issue a catalogue of fines. Here’s an overview of them:

  • Anyone who fails to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres in public, is in public with more than one person not living in the same household, or enters playgrounds, takes part in public or private events, faces a fine of €150
  • Anyone who organises public or private events, meetings or parties, or who does not comply with the 1.5-metre rule in companies despite the possibility, now pays up to €1,000
  • Anyone who opens up a shop or offers forbidden services despite the ban could be charged up to €2,500
  • Those who offer bus tours for tourists, open playgrounds, restaurants, pubs or canteens, could have to pay up to €4,000
  • Anyone who opens private or public sports facilities, commercial enterprises, establishments or places of entertainment such as clubs, bars, theatres, cinemas or brothels must expect a fine of €5,000
  • In repeat cases, fines can rise up to €25,000

Hesse

Anyone who does not adhere to the strict 'ban on contact' in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Hesse also faces steep fines.

Depending on the severity of the violation, fines of €200 to €5,000 can be slapped on offenders, authorities say. Especially serious violations can even be reported as criminal offences.

A fine, for example, can be imposed if someone violates contact rules in public, runs a restaurant illegally, or disregards the ban on visiting senior citizens' homes. 

The fines are based on the Protection Against Infection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz).

A woman on a beach in Offenbach in Hesse on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

A catalogue of fines is being drawn up in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for violations of coronavirus measures. 

Fines here will range up to €5,000, said interior minister Lorenz Caffier, of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), on Thursday April 2nd in Schwerin after a cabinet meeting. Those who do not keep the required minimum distance to other people, for example, face a fine of €150. The catalogue of fines is similar to that drawn up in other northern German states.

By Wednesday evening, police had registered 121 offences in connection with coronavirus bans, according to the northeastern state's interior ministry.

Caffier has also announced increased controls for the upcoming Easter weekend (beginning April 10th), including at the access roads to the Baltic Sea islands and the peninsula Fischland-Darß-Zingst. Excursions are not permitted in certain areas of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania during Easter.

Lower Saxony

The state government of Lower Saxony is preparing a state-wide catalogue of fines for violations of coronavirus measures which will likely be introduced this week.

READ ALSO: Which parts of Germany are worst affected by coronavirus?

According to the Protection Against Infection Act, fines of up to €25,000 are possible for violations – in severe cases.

A ban on Easter trips, like Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has imposed for its holiday areas, is not planned for Lower Saxony. However, local authorities could, for example, close beaches and other destinations in individual cases.

Rhineland-Palatinate

Violations of the conditions imposed in Rhineland-Palatinate can result in fines of up to €25,000, according to the state government. 

According to the decree, the following punishments are planned, among others:

  • The highest possible fine of €25,000 is to be imposed for particularly serious violations and in cases of recurrence – for example, when bars, clubs or restaurants do not close despite repeated requests and serve many people in confined spaces
  • Fines of €4,000 to €5,000 can be issued for anyone who allows a tourist overnight accommodation or for operating motorhome or camping sites for tourist purposes
  • A €1000 fee can be charged if specifications for protective measures or hygiene regulations are not observed.
  • Fines of up to €200 for meetings of more than two people in public, provided there are no exceptional circumstances can also be issued
  • If the required minimum distance of 1.5 metres is not observed, it can cost €100

Saarland

For violations of coronavirus rules, a catalogue of fines has been in force in Saarland since Wednesday, April 1st.

  • A fine of up to €200 per person can be issued to someone who leaves their home for no good reason
  • A person who is in public with more than one person not living in the household is also liable to a fine of up to €200
  • And anyone who violates the ban on taking part in a public meeting must expect a fine of up to €400
  • The operation of restaurants and hotels despite the ban will be punished with €1,000 to €4,000, the regulation continues
  • Unauthorized entry into a care facility can result in a fine of €500 to €2,000
  • For religious services in churches or meetings in mosques or synagogues, a fine of €200 to €2,000 can be imposed

Lower fines can also be issued for negligent offences. The standard rates apply to the first violation and they will be doubled for each subsequent violation. The upper limit is €25,000.

All infringements are administrative offences. Acceptable reasons for leaving the house include work or shopping.

Saxony

Anyone who leaves their home in Saxony without good reason can now be fined €150.

The beach promenade with the pier in the Baltic resort of Zinnowitz on the island of Usedom was deserted on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Violation of the ban on visiting old people's and nursing homes is punishable by €500.

If anyone is caught hosting more people in their home than usually live there, a fine of between €500 and €100 can be issued.

Meanwhile, police can issue warning fines of up to €55 for minor violations. Parallel to this, fines and penalties from the Protection Against Infection Act apply.

Saxony-Anhalt

Here's a few examples of fines for those who flout rules in Saxony-Anhalt:

  • If someone is caught on playgrounds or public sports facilities they must pay a €100 fine. Parents and guardians must also pay this if children and young people use closed playgrounds
  • Anyone who is outdoors with more than one person not from their household face paying €250 each
  • Those who meet on public grounds for parties, picnics or barbecues could be slapped with a fine of €250 each
  • Anyone who enters a day care centre, after-school care centre, school or holiday camp although he or she is ill with Covid-19, has returned from a trip abroad in the past few weeks, or is the contact person of someone who is demonstrably ill faces a €350 fine
  • Anyone who visits people in a hospital, a nursing home or an institution for people with disabilities, despite the general ban on visiting and without having a special permit, could have to pay €250
  • Anyone who, as a Covid 19-infected person, a person returning from a trip or someone who has come into contact with an infected person, visits people in a hospital, nursing home or an institution for the disabled despite the current ban on visiting them, without having a special permit, faces a €500 fine
  • People caught entering Saxony-Anhalt from another federal state to pursue leisure activities, further education or for a stay at a health resort or rehabilitation centre faces a €250 fine
  • Those entering Saxony-Anhalt from another state to spend their holidays there or to visit tourist destinations face a €400 fine

Schleswig-Holstein

In Schleswig-Holstein, the Protection Against Infection Act penalty framework has so far been in force. However, a separate catalogue of fines is likely to be put into force.

Thuringia

Thuringia is also planning its own catalogue of fines which should come into force this week, a spokeswoman for the health ministry has said.

So far, police and public order officers are evaluating violations such as shop closures as violations of the Protection Against Infection Law.


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