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Explained: The health rules tourists in Germany should know about

The Local Germany
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Explained: The health rules tourists in Germany should know about
Travellers queuing at Berlin Tegel airport on June 15th. Photo: DPA

Travelling to Germany on holiday? Here's what you should know.


As borders open up after the coronavirus shutdown, some people may be getting ready to travel to Germany on holiday.

So what rules should you know about it? Here are some points to keep in mind.

Plane and train travel

When you arrive, be aware that in German airports you have to wear a face mask, as well as while travelling on many airlines including Lufthansa.

You are also required to wear a covering over your nose and mouth when travelling on public transport and trains.

On regional and long-distance trains, staff are cleaning carriages more.  As the Local reported, the number of cleaning staff on trains has been doubled to 500.

Disinfection spray is also being made available at stations.

DB is also using its app to warn people when a train is too full in order to keep distance between passengers.


Quarantine rules

When you arrive in Germany, some people have to go into quarantine for 14 days. This is a measure aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.


If you arrive in Germany from a 'risk country' or state then you will likely be ordered by your destination German state to self-isolate for two weeks.

READ ALSO: Travel - what you need to know about Germany's coronavirus quarantine rules

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) continually updates a list of these countries, which include some states in the US and India.

If you are travelling from an EU state you do not have to quarantine.

When people come from a high risk area they are required to contact the health authority at their place of residence (usually the local health office – Gesundheitsamt) and inform them of your entry into the country.

A cafe worker in Berlin. Photo: DPA

The public health authority will supervise compliance with the quarantine. You can search for the relevant authority here.

READ ALSO: Which countries are on the list of those now permitted to enter Germany

The requirements can differ depending on the state you are in.

Travellers may also be exempt from quarantine if they receive a medical certificate from Germany or another EU state which is less than 48 hours old, and states that they do not have coronavirus nor symptoms.

The government said it is "constantly reviewing" its list of risk areas and urged people to check the website for updates.

If there are more than a total of 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, a country is considered to be risky.

But even if the infection rate is lower, a country can be declared a problem region if there is a lack of testing capacity or insufficient measures to contain the pandemic. "Likewise, when no reliable information is available for certain states that is taken into account," the RKI website states.


This English language information sheet on self-isolation by the RKI is helpful.

What about coach travel?

Coach travel has been permitted again in Germany since May 28th, however, companies may not be operating a full timetable. 

On board, masks are compulsory, toilets remain closed (coaches will instead stop for rest breaks) and vehicles are disinfected after each trip.

What rules do I have to follow in Germany?

Many regulations, such as the closure of non-essential businesses, put in place to ease the spread of coronavirus in March, have been eased.

But there are still rules you have to follow. They are drawn up by individual states so it's worth checking with the state you are travelling to in case there are specific rules.

Some states have also relaxed measures more quickly than others, such as Thuringia in the east which ended social distancing requirements in June.

There are less restrictions in the open air so now is the time to enjoy Germany's vast outdoor offering, such as the beaches on the coast, lakes or mountains (you can see a few amazing places in the video below).

Here's a glance at the overall situation in Germany:

What's different about public life?

  • Wearing a mask is mandatory on public transport and when shopping in Germany
  • Masks are also mandatory during service appointments such as when getting a hair cut or visiting a doctor's surgery
  • You have to keep 1.5 metre distance to others as much as possible
  • Shops and restaurants must observe distancing and hygiene regulations
  • All large-scale events are generally prohibited until October 31st 2020
  • Nurseries have resumed regular operations in many federal states and schools are gradually doing the same (although summer holidays are beginning in Germany).
  • All schools will open completely after the summer holidays. The federal states are regulating the details of this

Can I eat out normally?

In many restaurants and bars across Germany you will be asked to write down your contact details in case an outbreak happens.

READ ALSO: Paper, pens and face masks: What life is like as Germany eases out of the coronavirus crisis

You may also be required to wear a face mask when you are not at the table, for example when going to the toilet. Many bars and restaurants also have extra hand disinfectant.

Are tourist attractions open?

Most museums, art galleries, castles and other tourist destinations are open again following the shutdown.

But please be aware that many of them now require that you book a spot online rather than simply turning up and being allowed entry.

Some places have reduced their capacity. Neuschwanstein Castle – one of the Germany's most popular tourist destinations – has dropped its number of visitors to 10 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity.


These rules are in place so that facilities can keep carrying out social distancing and good hygiene. 

READ ALSO: When can Americans travel to Germany?

What do I do if I think I have coronavirus or I've come into contact with someone with coronavirus?

You should call the German non-emergency health hotline 116 177 or contact your local health authority or doctor. They will advise you the next steps to take.

If you do suspect you have Covid-19, you should isolate as a precaution. This information sheet in English has lots more information about the symptoms and what you should do in Germany.


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2020/07/08 07:52
The page linked about which museums and galleries are open is inaccurate. It says that the Pergamonmuseum is open from 12 May, however it is still not open. Only Pergamon. Das Panorama is open.

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