15 km rule: Which areas in Germany are affected by new movement restrictions?

People living in badly-hit coronavirus areas in Germany are now subject to new movement rules. Here are the areas affected and how to calculate the 15 kilometre radius.

15 km rule: Which areas in Germany are affected by new movement restrictions?
Bautzen in Saxony is one of the coronavirus hotspots in Germany. Photo: DPA

What is the 15 km rule?

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders decided last week on new tighter rules to try and stem the spread of Covid-19 to bring numbers down and ease the burden on hospitals.

As part of the new measures people living in districts with very high Covid infection rates will have their freedom of movement drastically restricted.

For districts with a 7-day incidence of more than 200 new infections per 100,000 residents, the radius of movement is to be restricted to a 15 km radius around the area you live, unless there is a valid reason to travel further.

Exceptions can include trips for work or medical appointments.

“Shopping, travelling and day-trips explicitly do not constitute a valid reason,” the government and states say.

Chancellor Merkel had been pushing for this order to come into force in regions with an incidence rate of 100 infections per 100,000 people in seven days. If Merkel had got her way, this rule would have applied to most of the country, effectively bringing travel to a complete standstill.

The travel restriction can be lifted if the infection levels are below 200 for a period of time (usually at least seven consecutive days). Note that not every state is enforcing the rule, and there can be differences in the way it is rolled out.

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

These are the areas with an incidence over 200 as of Monday January 11th


District of Passau

Berchtesgadener Land district

Wunsiedel district

Kulmbach district



Deggendorf district

District of Coburg

District of Kronach

District of Rottal-Inn

District of Bayreuth

District of Regen

District of Roth


District of Donau-Ries

District of Cham


District of Tirschenreuth


Lichtenfels district

District of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen


Weiden i.d.Opf

District of Freyung-Grafenau



District of Dingolfing-Landau

Haßberge district

The map below gives an idea of the worst affected areas in Germany as of January 11th. The deep red and purple coloured areas have over 200 cases per 100,000 residents in seven days and may be affected by new restrictions.


District of Dahme-Spreewald

District of Elbe-Elster

Frankfurt Oder

District of Oder-Spree

District of Oberspreewald-Lausitz

District of Ostprignitz-Ruppin

District of Potsdam-Mittelmark

District of Teltow-Fläming

District of Uckermark

Havelland district

Spree-Neisse district

Cottbus district



Limburg-Weilburg district


District of Fulda

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Mecklenburg Lake District

Lower Saxony

District of Gifhorn

Lower Saxony does not force affected districts to apply the 15 km rule, but leaves it up to the municipalities.


District of Saarbrücken


District of Meißen

District of Bautzen

District of North Saxony

District of Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge

District of Erzgebirgskreis

Görlitz district

Central Saxony district


Zwickau district


Vogtlandkreis district




District of Dessau-Roßlau


Wittenberg district

Saalekreis district



No district above 200 incidence yet



Ludwigshafen am Rhein

District of Bad Kreuznach


Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district

District of Hildburghausen


Eichsfeld district

District of Schmalkalden-Meiningen

District of Saale-Orla

Unstrut-Hainich district

District of Altenbuger Land

Wartburkreis district

Sonneberg district

Hildburghausen District

Saale-Holzland district

Gotha district

Saale-Holzland district

Greiz district

Eisenach district

Sömmerda district

Ilm district


Nordhausen district

District of Gera

Jena district

District of Weimarer Land

District of Erfurt

In Thuringia, the radius of movement will not be restricted by decree. The cabinet agreed on a recommendation, not an obligation.


The new rule kicks in on Saturday January 16th. Read more in our story here.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Since Tuesday January 12th, the 15 km rule has also been in force in NRW.

The state government issued a regional ordinance with specifications on how and in which districts people's radius of movement will be restricted. The ordinance initially lists four districts: Höxter, Minden-Lübbecke, Recklinghausen and the Oberbergischer Kreis.


No areas of over 200 incidence reported so far.

The 15-kilometre rule does not apply in these federal states at the moment:


However, the situation can change quickly so keep an eye on your local rules (and the incidence number in your district). You'll find information on the Robert Koch Institute website.


How do you calculate a 15 km radius?

The aim is to stop people from going on day trips. The German government and states already say that in general everyone should refrain from non-essential travel, whether it's within the country or abroad.

So it's safe to say wherever you live, authorities would prefer if you didn't travel far.

If you need to calculate a 15 km radius there are a few sites where you can do that.

Note that the place of residence is usually the city/town where you live, not your own address. But in some states the rules may differ on what is classed as your place of residence.

To work out the radius, you could try the CalcMaps calculator here.

You could also try this interactive calculator.

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.


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Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now