This is how Germany’s coronavirus rules vary across states

Germany is set to enter a stricter shutdown, with most states beginning to enforce the new rules on Monday. We break them down - and how they vary state by state.

This is how Germany's coronavirus rules vary across states
A sign in Hanau appeals to passersby to 'stop corona'. Photo: DPA

In order to stem high coronavirus infection figures, Germany's 16 state premiers, together with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), decided to tighten and extend Germany's shutdown until the end of January.

Here's an overview the new measures, and how individual states are implementing them differently (or not at all). 

READ ALSO: These are Germany's new tighter lockdown rules

New restrictions starting date

The new regulations apply in Hamburg from Friday January 8th, and in Berlin, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia from Sunday January 10th.

In Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein, they are set to come into force on Monday January 11th.

Contact restrictions

One person is allowed to meet with another household. Children are also usually not considered an exception, as they were under Germany's latest extended shutdown, in place since December 16th.

However, the states of Saxony, Bremen and Baden-Württemberg have decided to exempt themselves from the rule, allowing up to two households of five people not including children up to the age of 14 to meet. Infants are also exempt from the rule in Bavaria.

Children of single parents in Berlin, and children who are being looked after due to school closures in North Rhine-Westphalia, are also exempt from the rule. Small children under three years old are also exempt from the rule in Bavaria.

READ ALSO: Schools, contact rules and travel: What you need to know about Berlin's new Covid-19 restrictions

Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg both want to allow two families to come together to look after children. Schleswig-Holstein is also making an exception for the care of children and relatives in need of care. 

Lower Saxony also decided to deviate from the rule, saying it does not apply to children with disabilities and children of separated parents.

Schools and Kitas

Schools and daycare centre (Kitas) will in general stay closed. However, parents will be allowed paid leave for childcare during the shutdown. Emergency care and distance learning for school children will also be available.

READ ALSO: How parents in Germany can take paid time off to care for their children during lockdown

In Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, however, schools are to remain open, but grades 1 through 6 are not required to attend classes. Hamburg students who are not able to learn at home – for example because their parents are working outside of the home and unable to supervise them – may also continue to attend school. 

Baden-Württemberg plans to reopen elementary schools and daycare centew starting January  18th, as well as allow in-person classes for graduating years.

In Berlin, face-to-face and alternating classes (ie. part of the student body is there one day and the other on the next) will start on Monday.

Bremen is suspending its compulsory school requirement and letting parents decide for themselves whether to send their children to school. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Kitas and schools are to remain open through the 6th grade, unless parents can care for their children at home. Graduating classes are to be allowed to return to school starting Monday.

Hotspot rule

In districts with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, people are not allowed to travel more than 15 kilometre from their place of residence without a valid reason, for example a doctor’s appointment or travelling to work.

However Baden-Württemberg and North-Rhine Westphalia are not planning to follow the rule.

In Thuringia and Lower Saxony, local authorities are still debating whether they will enforce the rule or not.

If you live within a hotspot and want to see how far you're able to travel (and if the rule applies to your particular area) the following interactive calculator has been set up. 

READ ALSO: Germany to restrict movement for residents in Covid-19 hotspots


Member comments

  1. The Local? Sort your platform out! You are happy to take my money but you do not facilitate the option of me staying logged in. Every time I log in, I click on ‘stay logged in’ and it never works. Maybe put some of our money towards upgrading your system…instead of lining the pockets of your reporters who do not respond to valid comments/feedback and seem to have a very one-sided view on situations taking place in Germany. FYI? Not every expat, residing in Germany, lives in Berlin!

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‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.


Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music