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HAMBURG

Hamburg to tighten Covid measures from Christmas Eve

Hamburg is set to toughen its Covid rules from December 24th in a bid to prepare for the Omicron wave.

Chairs stacked at a restaurant in Hamburg.
Chairs stacked at a restaurant in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Reinhardt

The German government and state leaders were on Tuesday discussing new nationwide Covid measures which they propose could come into force on December 28th.

But the northern city state of Hamburg has announced it plans to tighten the rules from Christmas Eve to prepare for the expected fifth Covid wave.

From December 24th, 10 people will be allowed to meet in Hamburg and restaurants and bars will have a curfew of 11pm.

Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) said the aim was to try “to contain this spread as best we can”.

Here’s a glance at some of the planned measures in Hamburg:

– Contact restrictions for the vaccinated and recovered: up to 10 people will be allowed to meet in private (not including children under 14).

– Contact restrictions for the unvaccinated will continue: people who’ve chosen not to get vaccinated will still be only allowed to meet with people from their own household plus two people from another household.  

– Dance events will not be allowed (affecting nightclubs and similar venues).

– A curfew of 11pm will apply to restaurants, pubs, bars . On New Year’s Eve, the curfew is 1am.

– Major events will take place without an audience.

– From 3pm on December 31st until 9am on January 1st, there will be a ban on fireworks and firecrackers.

– During the same period, there is also a ban on gathering: a maximum of 10 people are allowed to meet or stand together in public spaces.

The Hamburg Senate said FFP2 masks are recommended in all indoor spaces – including under 2G conditions (in areas where only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed), as well as on public transport. 

According to social affairs senator Melanie Leonhard (SPD), there are currently hundreds of suspected Omicron cases and 28 confirmed Omicron cases in the Hanseatic city.

READ ALSO: Germany eyes limits on NYE parties to combat Omicron

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COVID-19 RULES

German states likely to keep mask mandate on public transport

Health ministers in Germany's 16 states say that the requirement to wear face masks on local public transport should remain in place throughout autumn and winter.

German states likely to keep mask mandate on public transport

As part of Germany’s planned Covid regulations from October onwards, people will have to wear FFP2 masks on long-distance transport, such as trains.

However, states are able to decide themselves on any mask requirements for local buses, trains, and trams. 

On Monday, state health ministers agreed that they were in favour of keeping the mask mandate on public transport across Germany.

According to the health ministry in Saxony-Anhalt, which currently holds the presidency of the Conference of Health Ministers, the aim is to have uniform rules in all states when it comes to masks on transit. 

It comes after some people raised concerns that Germany would see a patchwork of different rules across the states.

As The Local has been reporting, the Bundestag last week passed a set of Covid regulations that will be in place from October 1st until April 7th 2023.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS – Germany’s new Covid-19 rules for autumn

The plan includes some measures that will apply nationwide, while the states can decide on regional requirements depending on the pandemic situation.

Across Germany, FFP2 masks will be mandatory on long-distance trains and buses as well as in health and care settings, such as GP offices. There will no longer be a requirement to wear masks on planes in Germany.

Approval of the legal framework is still needed from the Bundesrat, which represents the states. That is expected to take place on Friday. 

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