COVID-19 in Berlin and Germany: What you need to know

Check here for up-to-date information regarding the management of COVID-19 in Berlin. We update this information weekly.

Photo by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Updated weekly

As of Oct. 26 at 2 p.m., there were 443,189 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Germany, 10,063 deaths, and 319,501 recovered. As of Oct. 26 at 2 p.m., there were 26,094 confirmed cases in Berlin and 250 deaths.

Should I wear a face mask? Find out more about what the experts recommend around mask use in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

QUARANTINE RULES – UPDATED OCT. 23, 2020

Across Germany’s 16 states, state governments are responsible for determining quarantine protocol for travelers returning from high-risk areas. On Aug. 27, the federal and state governments agreed to further develop quarantine rules, releasing a suggested template with recommendations for individual states to implement.

One of these recommendations is that travelers returning from hot spots outside of Germany inform the responsible authority and then self-quarantine for 10 days. The caveat is that travelers can get out of self-quarantine, at the earliest, on the fifth day but only if they take a coronavirus test on that day and it comes back negative.

Currently however, Berlin has a slightly different protocol in place. The state requires most people arriving from countries that remain on Germany’s travel warning list (see high-risk areas, listed below) to contact their neighborhood health authority to document their arrival and then to self-quarantine for 14 days.

There are some exceptions to the 14-day quarantine. Those include:

  • Travelers who provide a negative coronavirus test result. This test result must be kept for two weeks and shown to the responsible authority upon request.
  • Those who arrive for work-related reasons and workers transporting people and goods. But the exemption only applies to those who have been in at-risk countries for less than 72 hours or who plan to be in Berlin for no more than 48 hours.

Travelers returning to Germany from high-risk areas are required to take a COVID-19 test. They must quarantine until they can present a negative test result. Even if the first result is negative, travelers are urged to take another test after 5-7 days to account for a longer incubation period.

COVID-19 RESTRICTION UPDATES IN BERLIN 

Note: The Berlin Senate meets regularly to assess these measures. We will update accordingly as new information becomes available. Items appearing in white were updated on Oct. 21, 2020. For shareable graphics featuring the information below, go to the bottom of the page. 

PUBLIC LIFE AND BUSINESS:
GENERAL RULES:
You must keep a minimum of 1.5 meters (roughly 5 feet) away from others not living with you when out in public. When sitting in parks or other green spaces, you must keep a 5-meter distance (that’s roughly 16.5 feet) from others.
Indoors, only two households, or one household and five other people are permitted to gather. Outdoors, private events must be limited to 25 people.
Restaurants, bars and shops in Berlin must close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day.
Major events are banned through the end of 2020 where contact tracing and adhering to hygiene rules is not possible.
MASKING REQUIREMENTS:
You are required to shield your mouth and nose with a covering (scarves are acceptables) at Berlin’s outdoor markets — including Christmas markets — when standing outside in line, and on certain streets, including Tauentzienstraße (Schöneberg, Charlottenburg), Wilmersdorfer Straße (Charlottenburg), Kurfürstendamm (Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf), Altstadt Spandau, Schlossstraße (Steglitz), Bergmannstraße (Kreuzberg), Karl-Marx-Straße (Neukölln), Friedrichstraße (Mitte), Alte Schönhauser Straße (Mitte) and Bölschestraße (Friedrichshagen).
You are also required to wear a mask while using Berlin public transportation, and while in grocery stores and other shops. Failure to do so can result in fines starting at 50 euros in nearly all of Germany’s 16 states (Saxony-Anhalt is the exception).
Masks are also required at airports and train stations.
You are required to wear a mouth and nose covering while moving inside all office and administrative buildings, including in hallways and elevators. Employees are not required to wear masks while at their desks.
Berlin officials also urge you to wear a mask in all situations where you can’t maintain a minimum 1.5-meter, or roughly 5-feet, distance from other people.
WHAT IS OPEN NOW?
Restaurants and cafes in Berlin must close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day. They may not serve buffets. Groups of up to six people can sit at a table indoors without observing the minimum distance of 1.5 meters, or 5 feet. Guests can also sit at bars and counters, where food may also be served. Restaurants are required to collect contact information of patrons in the event there’s an outbreak and those affected must be notified. Patrons must provide accurate information or face fines starting at 50 euros.
Bars, pubs and shisha bars must close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day. People must be seated at tables or at the bar (standing is not allowed), and seating must be designed in a way that maintains the 1.5-meter (5-feet) distance between different groups.
Most shops in Berlin must close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day. Pharmacies and gas stations may continue to operate during those hours, although gas stations are forbidden from selling alcohol. Customers must not be made to stand in line and people must adhere to social distancing. Additionally, only a single customer is permitted per 10 square meters (roughly 108 square feet).
Fitness studios reopened on June 2. People must be 3 meters (10 feet) apart from one another. Locker rooms can be used, but showers cannot.
Dance studios reopened on June 2. Couples’ dancing is permitted as of July 21. 
Cinemas reopened on June 30, though capacity is limited to ensure there is a minimum distance between moviegoers.
Indoor sports halls may reopen for contactless sports. Up to 30 people, including trainers, can participate at a time. Athletes must maintain a 1.5-meter (5-feet), distance from one another, and gyms must be aired out for at least 10 minutes as groups come and go.
For martial arts, training groups can exceed no more than four people as well as a coach.
Casinos and betting parlors reopened on June 2. People must adhere to social distancing rules.
Hotels in Berlin reopened on May 25. The same restrictions on dining apply. 
Dry saunas (where no water is poured over heated rocks) may reopen.
Beaches and outdoor pools that have city government-approved, hygiene plans in place started to reopen on May 25.
Tanning and nail salons, tattoo studios and other businesses that offer cosmetic services reopened on May 9. Shops must adhere to hygiene criteria and employees and customers must wear protective masks.
Hair salons in Berlin reopened on May 4. Shops must adhere to hygiene criteria and employees and customers must wear protective masks.
Berlin museums and libraries reopened on May 4. They must comply with social distancing requirements and hygiene rules.
WHAT REMAINS CLOSED?
Clubs remain closed.
EDUCATION AND CHILD CARE:
Regular operation at day care centers, or “Kita,” resumed on June 22.
Schools in Berlin reopened on Aug. 10. Students and staff must cover their mouths and nose when in school buildings, although not while in classrooms and during instruction. Although people are not required to keep a 1.5-meter (5-feet) distance from one another, they should reduce direct physical contact as much as possible.
Employees at Berlin schools and day care can be tested for COVID-19 free of charge, regardless if they are showing symptoms. Tests are voluntary.
EVENTS AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:
Indoors, only two households, or one household and five other people are permitted to gather. Outdoors, private events must be limited to 25 people.
There are no limits on the number of people allowed at demonstrations, but organizers must have hygiene plans in place and participants must adhere to social distancing rules. Participants at demonstrations with more than 100 people must wear masks.  
There are no limits on the number of people allowed at religious gatherings held outdoors or indoors, provided people keep a minimum of 1.5-meter (5-feet) distance from others and avoid physical contact.
Up to 1,000 people can gather for public events held indoors. This limit remains in place until the end of the year. Social distancing and hygiene rules must be followed.
Up to 5,000 people can gather for outdoor events. Events with more than 5,000 people are prohibited through the end of the year.
Outdoor sightseeing tours resumed on May 25. People must adhere to social distancing.
Event organizers must create an attendance list with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all participants.
HOSPITALS AND OTHER HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS
Patients are allowed to receive one visitor per day for one hour. Visitors at hospitals are required to wear a mask. Patients must also wear masks while they are receiving visitors or when they are not in their room.
In general, no restrictions on visiting hours apply to those seeing seriously ill or dying patients.

Symptoms (According to the Robert Koch Institute):


Commonly reported symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Less commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Vomiting / Nausea
  • Blocked nose
  • Diarrhea 

The Robert Koch Institute classifies the risk to the health of the population in Germany as HIGH and VERY HIGH for at-risk groups. However, this risk varies from region to region. 

Protect yourself and others:

According to Charité:

  • Cover when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • Stay 1 to 2 meters from sick people
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Where possible, avoid going on trips, using public transport and work from home
  • Avoid events with crowds of people 

Take action if…

If you have symptoms:

  • Stay home and call your local area hotline** if you show symptoms and have had direct & extended contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Stay home and call your local area hotline** if you have been to a high-risk area* and are showing symptoms.
  • Once you have called the local area hotline, if your case warrants it, you will be sent to a Berlin screening center. There are seven in Berlin. Please call the hotline and have them recommend a test before attending a screening center. 

If you have no symptoms:

  • Stay home and call your local doctor if you have had direct and extended contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Stay home and call your local doctor if you have been to a high-risk area* in the past 14 days.
  • Once you have called the local area hotline, if your case warrants it, you will be sent to a Berlin screening center. There are seven in Berlin. Please call your doctor and have them recommend a test before attending a screening center. 

At-risk groups:

  • People aged 50 and up
  • Smokers
  • People with medical conditions: of the heart (e.g. coronary heart disease) / the lungs (e.g. asthma, chronic bronchitis)
  • Patients with chronic liver disease
  • People with diabetes
  • Patients with cancer
  • Patients with a weakened immune system

People in these groups should avoid contact with other people where possible.

Risk areas: 

The following countries are currently identified as areas in which there is an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Find out more.

On Oct. 1, Germany started moving towards issuing travel warnings for specific regions rather than entire countries.

Updated weekly. Bolded places were added to the list on Oct. 23, 2020.

  • Afghanistan,
  • Albania,
  • Algeria,
  • Andorra,
  • Angola,
  • Argentina,
  • Armenia,
  • Austria – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Vienna, Vorarlberg with exception of the municipality Mittelberg / Kleinwalsertal, Tyrol with the exception of the municipality Jungholz, Burgenland (as of Oct. 24), Niederösterreich (as of Oct. 24), Oberösterreich (as of Oct. 24), Salzburg (as of Oct. 24), Steiermark (as of Oct. 24),
  • Azerbaijan,
  • Bahamas,
  • Bahrain,
  • Bangladesh,
  • Belarus,
  • Belgium,
  • Belize,
  • Benin,
  • Bhutan,
  • Bolivia,
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • Brazil,
  • Bulgaria – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Blagoevgrad, Targovishte, Razgrad (as of Oct. 24), Sliven (as of Oct. 24), Sofia City (as of Oct. 24),
  • Burkina Faso,
  • Burundi,
  • Cameroon,
  • Cape Verde,
  • Central African Republic,
  • Chad,
  • Chile,
  • Colombia,
  • Comoros,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Croatia – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Dubrovnik-Neretv, Grad (city) Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, Lika-Senj, Međimurje, Požega-Slavonia, Sisak-Moslavina, Split-Dalmatia, Virovitica-Podravina, Vukovar-Syrmia, Bjelovar-Bilogora (as of Oct. 24), Karlovac (as of Oct. 24), Osječko-baranjska (as of Oct. 24), Varaždin (as of Oct. 24), Zagreb (as of Oct. 24),
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Capital region Hovedstaden,
  • Djibouti,
  • Dominican Republic,
  • DR Congo,
  • Ecuador,
  • Egypt,
  • El Salvador,
  • Equatorial Guinea,
  • Eritrea,
  • Estonia – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Jogeva,
  • Eswatini,
  • Ethiopia,
  • Finland – the following region are classified as risk areas: Ostrobothnia
  • France – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Complete Mainland France, French Overseas Territory: French Guiana, French Overseas Territory: Guadeloupe, French Overseas Territory: St. Martin, French Overseas Territory: La Réunion , French Overseas Territory: Martinique,
  • Gabon,
  • Gambia,
  • Georgia,
  • Ghana,
  • Guatemala,
  • Guinea,
  • Guinea-Bissau,
  • Guyana,
  • Haiti,
  • Honduras,
  • Hungary– the following counties are classified as risk areas: Baranya, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, City of Budapest, Csongrád-Csanád, Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Komárom-Esztergom, Nógrád, Pest, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Vas, Veszprém, Heves (as of Oct. 24), Somogy (as of Oct. 24), Zala (as of Oct. 24),
  • Iceland,
  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • Iran,
  • Iraq,
  • Ireland – the complete country (as of Oct. 24),
  • Israel,
  • Italy – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Campania, Liguria, Valle d’Aosta (as of Oct. 24), Umbria (as of Oct. 24), Lombardia (as of Oct. 24), Piemonte (as of Oct. 24), Toskana (as of Oct. 24), Veneto (as of Oct. 24), Lazio (as of Oct. 24), Abrruzo (as of Oct. 24), Friuli Venezia Giulia (as of Oct. 24), Emilia-Romagna (as of Oct. 24), Sardinien (as of Oct. 24) and the autonomous province Bolzano-South Tyrol (as of Oct. 24),
  • Jamaica,
  • Jordan,
  • Kazakhstan,
  • Kenya,
  • Korea (Democratic People’s Republic, North Korea),
  • Kosovo,
  • Kuwait,
  • Kyrgyzstan,
  • Lebanon,
  • Lesotho,
  • Liberia,
  • Libya,
  • Liechtenstein – the complete country (as of Oct. 24),
  • Lithuania – the following counties are classified as risk areas: Kaunas, Šiaulių,
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar,
  • Malawi,
  • Maldives,
  • Mali,
  • Malta,
  • Mauritania,
  • Mexico,
  • Mongolia,
  • Montenegro,
  • Morocco,
  • Mozambique,
  • Namibia,
  • Nepal,
  • Netherlands – complete country,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Niger,
  • Nigeria,
  • North Macedonia,
  • North Korea,
  • Oman,
  • Pakistan,
  • Palestinian territories,
  • Panama,
  • Papua New Guinea,
  • Paraguay,
  • Peru,
  • Philippines,
  • Poland – the complete country (as of Oct. 24),
  • Portugal – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Region Lissabon, Norte,
  • Qatar,
  • Republic of Moldova,
  • Republic of the Congo,
  • Romania,
  • Russian Federation,
  • São Tomé and Príncipe,
  • Saudi Arabia,
  • Senegal,
  • Serbia,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • Slovakia – complete Slovakia,
  • Slovenia – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Gorenjska,  Koroška, Osrednjeslovenska, Primorsko-Notranjska, Savinjska, Zasavska, Jugovzhodna Slovenija, Podravska, Pomurska, Goriška (as of Oct. 24), Posavska (as of Oct. 24),
  • Somalia,
  • South Africa,
  • South Sudan,
  • Spain – the complete country, with the exception of the Canary Islands (as of Oct. 24),
  • Sudan,
  • Suriname
  • Sweden – the following provinces are classified as risk areas: Uppsala, Örebro, Stockholm, Jämtland, Jönköping (as of Oct. 24), Östergötland (as of Oct. 24),
  • Switzerland – the complete country (as of Oct. 24),
  • Syrian Arab Republic,
  • Tajikistan,
  • Tanzania,
  • Timor Leste (East Timor),
  • Togo,
  • Trinidad Tobago,
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey,
  • Turkmenistan,
  • United Arab Emirates,
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the complete country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Gibraltar is considered as risk area. Excluded are further British Overseas Territories, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey) (as of Oct. 24),
  • United States,
  • Uzbekistan,
  • Venezuela,
  • Yemen,
  • Zambia,
  • Zimbabwe

Note: There are screening centers in several locations across Berlin. Contact details are online. Appointments should be made in advance by contacting your local health hotline.

**LOCAL HEALTH HOTLINES:  UPDATED MARCH 25

DISTRICT CONTACT 
Treptow-Köpenick Email: covid19@ba-tk.berlin.de
Tel: 030 / 90297-4773
Steglitz-Zehlendorf Email: corona@ba-sz.berlin.de
Tel: 030 / 90299-3670
Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Email: coronakontakt@ba-fk.berlin.de
Tel : 030/90 298 8000
Spandau

Email: ges2@ba-spandau.berlin.de
Tel: 030 / 90279-4012, -4014, -4026

Pankow Email: corona@ba-pankow.berlin.de
Tel: 030 / 90295-3000
Mitte Email: corona@ba-mitte.berlin.de
Tel: 030/9018 41000
Tempelhof-Schöneberg Email: hygiene@ba-ts.berlin.de
Tel: 030/902777351
Neukölln Email: geshyg@bezirksamt-neukoelln.de
Tel: 030 / 90239-4040
Marzahn-Hellersdorf Email: hygiene-mh@ba-mh.berlin.de
Tel: 030 / 90293-3629
Lichtenberg Email: pandemie@uellenberg.berlin.de
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf Email: hygiene@charlottenburg-wilmersdorf.de
Tel: 030 / 9029-16662
Reinickendorf

Email: coronavirus@reinickendorf.berlin.de

Tel: 030/90294 5500

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