What you need to know about travelling in Germany right now
Germany is currently on a partial lockdown for the month of November. So is travel allowed? What about day trips? Here's what you should know.
With restaurants, bars art galleries, theatres and gyms closed until the end of the month, activities are limited for people in Germany.
So some people may be wondering if they can take a (corona-safe) holiday within the country, or a road trip.
We break down what you should know about travel during the shutdown.
Is travel allowed?
First of all, there are no bans against travel. But the government, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, is advising that people in Germany do not travel at the moment due to the rising coronavirus rates.
"Citizens are urged to avoid unnecessary private travel and visits, including by relatives," said the government and states in its agreement for the latest coronavirus restrictions. "This also applies in Germany and to day trips away from your region. overnight accommodation in Germany is only provided for necessary and expressly non-touristic purposes."
Are hotels open?
Hotels in Germany can remain open in November but, as stated above, they are only available for non-tourist purposes. So for example, if you need to travel for business then you would be able to stay in a hotel, but not if you were visiting Leipzig to check out the city.
What if I have a negative coronavirus test?
It doesn't matter. From November 2nd, there is a general ban on accommodation nationwide, even if you get a negative coronavirus test: there are no exceptions on this.
Can I visit relatives or friends or invite them to my home?
As stated above, the government does not want you to do this. But theoretically, it is possible to stay with relatives and friends.
Here's what we've been told about socialising:
The government and states decided that only members of your own household and one other household – with a maximum of 10 people in total – will be allowed to meet in public during the shutdown in November. So as leisure and cultural facilities are shut, as well as cafes and restaurants etc, that would mean in public areas such as parks.
They further stated that "groups of people celebrating in public places, in apartments as well as private areas are unacceptable in view of the serious situation in our country" – but did not specify a rule.
However, Bavaria (and possibly some other states) plan to take a clearer line on socialising privately. In Bavaria until the end of the month a maximum of two households can meet, with no more than 10 people, in both public and private settings.
In Berlin, only members of your own household and a maximum of two people from other households, or up to 10 people from a maximum of two households are permitted to be together in public and private spaces. In any case, no more than 10 people may be together at any one time.
There are some other regional differences on contact restrictions so check with your local authority.
What does this mean if I've booked a hotel in November?
It should be possible to get your money back (although of course each situation is different).
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations advises that holidaymakers should invoke the so-called "impossibility of service" (Unmöglichkeit der Leistung) so they can withdraw from the booking free of charge and even reclaim their deposit.
What's the aim?
Experts as well as the federal and state governments have repeatedly and clearly appealed to residents in Germany to stay at home and reduce contacts as much as possible.
Chancellor Merkel, for instance, says that the aim of the new measures is a "systematic reduction of contacts". She explicitly mentioned a reduction of 75 percent, saying this was the only way to reduce the risk of infection.
Therefore, people in general are asked to refrain from private trips and visits to and from relatives and friends unless they are absolutely necessary.
What about travel within my city or region?
There is a small ray of hope for gloomy November: regionally limited day trips – to the nearby forest or park, for example – remain permitted. And at least in the capital Berlin, the outdoor facilities of the zoos (but not the animal houses) remain open.
Zoos may also be partially open in other regions so check before you plan a day out.
But keep in mind that these spots will likely be busier in November so don't forget your face mask.
Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.