Everything that changes in Germany in November 2021

An alarm clock among the autumn leaves.
An alarm clock among the autumn leaves. There's lots changing in Germany in November. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert
From public holidays to new driving fines and the start of the skiing season, here's what's changing in Germany this November.

Holidays in November

In some German states, workers can expect time off in November. Right at the start of the month, residents in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland  get an extended weekend on All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) on November 1st.

One state can also look forward to a holiday on November 17th. The day of Repentance and Prayer (Buß- und Bettag) is a celebrated in Saxony.

New traffic fines come into force

Germany is getting tougher on reckless drivers. 

From November 10th onwards, they will face higher fines under new rules passed by the German parliaments in October.

The illegal use of pavements, cycle paths and hard shoulders will be punished with a fine of up to €100 instead of the previous €25, while people who go above the speed limit will pay at least €70 instead of €35, with higher fines for higher speeds. 

In some cases, speeders can expect fines of €400 for driving over the limit in urban areas.

Vehicles on the Autobahn in Saxony
Vehicles on the Autobahn in Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

There will also be higher fines for those who park illegally on footpaths and cycle paths, stop without permission on hard shoulders or park in the second row.

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READ MORE: Germany’s tougher driving fines

Unvaccinated people may lose out on pay

German states have been putting in place a new regulation that means people who are eligible for vaccination but don’t get their jabs lose out on pay if they can’t work when ordered by authorities to quarantine.

From November 1st at the latest, all states must have this rule in force. 

Under previous Germany-wide rules, all employees who were unable to work after being told to go into quarantine still received wage compensation, regardless of their vaccination status. 

The move was agreed upon by a majority of the federal and state health ministers.

READ ALSO: What employees in Germany should know about quarantine compensation

In October, German authorities removed free-to-access rapid Covid tests. Unvaccinated people who want to visit an indoor public space, like a restaurant, now have to pay for a Covid test themselves unless they fall into a group who still qualify for free tests. 

Emergency pandemic powers could end

Germany may end its ‘pandemic state of emergency’ in November. The special powers, which form the legal basis for introducing measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, are due to expire on November 25th. 

The coalition parties in talk to form a new government – the Social Democrats, Greens and FDP – want to let these powers expire but provide legislation for states to keep the Covid measures in place until at least spring 2022. 

The Bundestag will vote on whether to extend or let the pandemic powers expire. 

READ ALSO: Germany could end pandemic rules in March 2022

A mask on the ground in Mühldorf Am Inn, Bavaria.
A mask on the ground in Mühldorf Am Inn, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

Winter sports season kicks off 

Skiing resorts remained closed across most of Europe (notably not in Austria) during last year’s pandemic shutdown. But this year it’s more promising.

The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, will be the first ski area in Germany to start winter sports operations on November 19th.

The season is expected to open under Germany’s ‘3G’ Covid health pass rules. That means that only people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 (geimpft in the German language), those who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) or people who’ve tested negatively for Covid (getestet) can use indoor facilities like cable cars.  

Children up to six-years-old and school pupils will be exempt, reports the German motoring association ADAC which regularly reports on travel rules. Masks will be compulsory in all lifts.

States in Germany have been allowed to choose whether businesses – like restaurants, cafes and culture facilities – use the 3G rule – or if they can be given the option to offer the more restrictive 2G rule (meaning only the vaccinated and people who’ve recovered from Covid) can use facilities. 

So keep in mind that there could be differences in how businesses operate depending on the German state. 

Happy skiing and stay safe!

COMPARE: What Covid rules are in place for the winter sports season?

Deadline for vehicle insurance change

The changeover season for vehicle insurance (Kfz-Versicherung) is underway. And here’s something to put in your diary: November 30th is the annual cut-off date for the change of car insurance.

This is because notice of termination must be given up to one month before the end of the term, and the vast majority of contracts run until the end of December. Without notice of termination, the insurance will be extended. Changing insurance is often an easy way to save some money each year.

Christmas markets and Advent

Markets were hugely scaled back last year as Germany battled an intense Covid wave. Infections are currently rising – but because the majority of people in Germany are vaccinated against Covid-19, the government says another shutdown of businesses should be avoided. 

Christmas markets therefore are making the most of being allowed to open – and some will start as early as mid November.

Christmas lights in Wernigerode in early January 2021, Saxony-Anhalt.
Christmas lights in Wernigerode in early January 2021, Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

But expect some rules – such as 3G entry (you have to show proof of vaccination, recovery of Covid or a negative Coivid test) or even 2G (vaccinated people are excluded).

READ ALSO: Berlin allows Christmas markets to exclude unvaccinated people 

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas every year, and traditionally refers to awaiting the advent, or “arrival” of Christ. It begins this year on November 28th.

Karneval season kicks off

Germany’s carnival season starts on November 11th. Celebrations – which are usually focused on cities in the west of the country – start at 11.11am.

Last year saw most festivities cancelled due to the Covid crisis. This year the Karneval is tentatively swinging back into action swing (within the scope of the pandemic). 

Carnival king Klaus-Ludwig Fess, head of the association of German carnival, told Rheinishe Post online: “I’m actually hopeful that it will be like before Corona again.”

The 3G rules will likely be in place for outdoor events, and the association of German carnival recommends that only the vaccinated and people who’ve recovered from Covid can be admitted to indoor events. 

PayPal business fees for UK will rise 

One for businesses to keep in mind: PayPal is introducing new fees for payments between businesses in the UK and those in the rest of Europe following Brexit. From November 10th, payments between the European Economic Area (EEA) and British Businesses will be charged a 1.29 percent fee. 

The current rate is around 0.5 percent. That has remained unchanged since before the UK left the EU Customs Union and Single Market. But PayPal said it was now facing extra costs, such as the rise in interchange fees between the UK and EEA.

Payments between EU and associated state countries and countries outside the EU are charged a 1.99 percent fee. Within the EU the fee for businesses is 0.5 percent. 

Bargains for shoppers

If you fancy some retail therapy, don’t forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is approaching. Retailers are set to offer lots of discounts. Black Friday is on November 26th and Cyber Monday is on November 29th. 

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