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

Please Note: KCRW Berlin stopped broadcasting on Dec. 13. This page is no longer being updated.

GERMANY’S COVID-19 RULES – UPDATED NOV. 30, 2020

Federal and state governments agreed to extend partial lockdown measures until Dec. 23 in view of the high number of COVID-19 cases. Scroll down to read about the exceptions in Berlin.

General rules:

  • You are only allowed to meet privately with members of your own household and members from another household, for a maximum of 5 people. Children up to the age of 14 are excluded in this total.
  • You should refrain from unnecessary trips in and outside of Germany, including visits to relatives.
  • Whenever possible, employees should work from home, especially from Dec. 23 – Jan. 1.   

What is closed:

  • Restaurants and bars are closed. Takeout and delivery may continue. 
  • Theaters, concert halls, cinemas, fitness studios, swimming pools, saunas, casinos and similar businesses and institutions are temporarily closed. 
  • Cosmetic studios, including massage studios, tattoo studios and similar businesses are temporarily closed. However, medically necessary treatments, including physiotherapy, are possible. 
  • Recreational and intramural sports must also stop, although you are allowed to continue training by yourself, in pairs, or with members of your own household. 
  • Clubs remain closed.

What remains open:

  • Schools and day care centers remain open. 
  • Stores remain open. 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) for stores with a sales area of up to 800 square meters (about 8,611 square feet). For stores with sales areas larger than that, a single customer is permitted per 20 square meters (roughly 215 square feet). 
  • Hair salons remain open. Shops must adhere to hygiene criteria and employees and customers must wear protective masks.
  • Religious services may continue, provided people keep a minimum of 1.5-meter (5-feet) distance from others and avoid physical contact.

From Dec. 23 – Jan. 1:

QUARANTINE RULES – UPDATED NOV. 9, 2020

Across Germany’s 16 states, state governments are responsible for determining quarantine protocol for travelers returning from high-risk areas.

Upon entering Germany, travelers who were in a coronavirus risk area in the last 10 days must report where they were in an online portal. You can find all of the countries and regions considered high-risk by the Robert Koch Institute by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Travelers returning from outside of Germany to Berlin must inform their local health department and then self-quarantine for 10 days.

There are some exceptions to the 10-day quarantine. Those include (but are not limited to):

  • Travelers who provide a negative coronavirus test result that is no more than 48 hours old. This test result must be kept for at least 10 days two weeks and shown to the responsible authority upon request.
  • People working in certain health or security jobs.
  • People who are only passing through Berlin.

Travelers returning to Germany from high-risk areas are required to take a COVID-19 test upon request. 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: This section was last updated on Nov. 30. The Berlin Senate meets regularly to assess these measures. We will update this section as new information becomes available.

PUBLIC LIFE AND BUSINESS:
GENERAL RULES FROM NOV. 2 THROUGH NOV. 30:
You are urged to reduce contacts with people outside of your household to an absolute minimum. You should only leave your home when necessary, for example for work, shopping or exercise.
You must keep a minimum of 1.5 meters (roughly 5 feet) away from others not living with you when out in public.
You are only allowed to meet publicly and privately with members of your own household and those from another household (maximum of five people). Children up to the age of 12 are excluded from this total. (This is stricter than federal rule.)
Recreational and intramural sports must stop, although you are allowed to continue training by yourself or in pairs while socially distancing. Children up to the age of 12 may continue practicing sports outdoors in fixed groups (maximum of 10 people).
WHAT IS CLOSED FROM NOV. 2 THROUGH NOV. 30?
Restaurants are closed. Takeout and delivery is permitted, but lines or crowds must be avoided. No alcohol may be sold anywhere between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day.
Bars are closed.
Theaters, concert halls, cinemas, opera houses, museums and similar cultural institutions are closed.
Fitness and dance studios, swimming pools and saunas are closed.
Amusement parks and casinos are closed.
Berlin’s aquarium and the indoor exhibits of zoos are closed. The outdoor enclosures are open to visitors, provided they wear masks and practice social distancing. 
Hotel stays for tourists are prohibited.
Cosmetic studios, including massage studios, tattoo studios and similar businesses are closed.
Christmas markets may not open.
Clubs remain closed.
WHAT IS OPEN, WITH RESTRICTIONS, FROM NOV. 2 THROUGH NOV. 30?
Most stores in Berlin may stay open. Customers must not be made to stand in line and people must adhere to social distancing and wear masks. Additionally, only a single customer is permitted per 10 square meters (roughly 108 square feet) for stores with a sales area of up to 800 square meters (about 8,611 square feet). For stores with sales areas larger than that, a single customer is permitted per 20 square meters (roughly 215 square feet).
Hair salons may remain open. Businesses must adhere to hygiene criteria and employees and customers must wear protective masks.
Medically necessary treatments, including physiotherapy, may continue.
EDUCATION AND CHILD CARE:
Day care centers remain open.
Schools remain open. Students and staff must cover their mouths and nose when in school buildings, although not while in classrooms and during instruction. Direct physical contact should be limited as much as possible.
If the city-wide seven-day incidence rate exceeds 200 new infections per 100,000 residents, schools can switch to hybrid classroom teaching and at-home instruction for grades 8 and 11 at integrated secondary schools and for grades 8 and 9 at general secondary schools.
Starting Dec. 7, masks are required for those in grades 5 and 6 if the seven-day incidence rate in the school’s district exceeds 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
Masks are required at all secondary and vocational schools.
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.
MASKING REQUIREMENTS:
The Berlin Senate strongly recommends that you cover your mouth and nose with a covering at all times in public spaces and where you cannot keep a 1.5-meter (roughtly 5-feet) distance from others.
You are required to shield your mouth and nose with a covering (scarves are acceptable) at Berlin’s outdoor markets — including Christmas markets should they open after Dec. 1 — when standing outside in line, and on certain streets and plazas, including:

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: Breitscheidplatz, Hardenbergplatz, Kurfürstendamm, Olympischer Platz, Wilmersdorfer Straße, Tauentzienstraße (also in Schöneberg)

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg: Boxhagener Platz, Kottbusser Tor, Lausitzer Platz, Bergmannstraße

Mitte: Alexanderplatz, Alte Schönhauser Straße, Bebelplatz, Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt, Leipziger Platz, Lustgarten, Pariser Platz, Potsdamer Platz, Rathausstraße, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Rosenthaler Platz, Turmstraße, Unter den Linden, Karl-Liebknecht Straße, Washingtonplatz/Europaplatz

Neukölln: Hermannplatz, Hermannstraße, Karl-Marx-Straße, Sonnenallee

Spandau: Altstadt Spandau

Steglitz-Zehlendorf: Schlossstraße

Tempelhof-Schöneberg: Wittenbergplatz

Treptow-Köpenick: 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.
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.
EVENTS AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:
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 and masking requirements.
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.
Funerals can be held with up to 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
Public events held indoors are limited to no more than 50 people. Social distancing and hygiene rules must be followed. Concerts, theater, opera and other such performances with physically present audiences are prohibited.
Public events held outdoors are limited to no more than 100 people. Social distancing and hygiene rules must be followed.
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 or revised on Nov. 20.

  • Afghanistan,
  • Albania,
  • Algeria,
  • Andorra,
  • Angola,
  • Argentina,
  • Armenia,
  • Austria – the complete country with exception of the municipality Jungholz and Mittelberg / Kleinwalsertal,
  • Azerbaijan,
  • Bahamas,
  • Bahrain,
  • Bangladesh,
  • Belarus,
  • Belgium,
  • Belize,
  • Benin,
  • Bhutan,
  • Bolivia,
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • Botswana,
  • Brazil,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Burkina Faso,
  • Burundi,
  • Cameroon,
  • Cape Verde,
  • Central African Republic,
  • Chad,
  • Chile,
  • Colombia,
  • Comoros,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Côte d’Ivoire,
  • Croatia,
  • Cyprus,
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark – the complete country with exception of the Faroe Islands and Greenland,
  • Djibouti,
  • Dominican Republic,
  • DR Congo,
  • Ecuador,
  • Egypt,
  • El Salvador,
  • Equatorial Guinea,
  • Eritrea,
  • Estonia – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Ida-Viru, Harju, Hiiu, Rapla
  • Eswatini,
  • Ethiopia,
  • Finland – the following region is classified as a risk area: Uusimaa (contains capital city Helsinki)
  • France – the following regions are classified as risk areas: Complete Mainland France, French Overseas Territories: French Guiana, Guadeloupe, French Polynesia, St. Martin, La Réunion, Martinique,
  • Gabon,
  • Gambia,
  • Georgia,
  • Ghana,
  • Greece – the following regions are classified as risk areas: West Macedonia, Attica, Central Macedonia, Eastern Macedonia, Thrace, Epirus, Thessaly, North Aegean, Peloponnese, Central Greece,
  • Guatemala,
  • Guinea,
  • Guinea-Bissau,
  • Guyana,
  • Haiti,
  • Honduras,
  • Hungary
  • Iceland,
  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • Iran,
  • Iraq,
  • Ireland,
  • Israel,
  • Italy – the complete country,
  • Jamaica,
  • Jordan,
  • Kazakhstan,
  • Kenya,
  • Korea (Democratic People’s Republic, North Korea),
  • Kosovo,
  • Kuwait,
  • Kyrgyzstan,
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon,
  • Lesotho,
  • Liberia,
  • Libya,
  • Liechtenstein,
  • Lithuania,
  • Luxembourg,
  • Madagascar,
  • Malawi,
  • Maldives,
  • Mali,
  • Malta,
  • Mauritania,
  • Mexico,
  • Monaco,
  • Mongolia,
  • Montenegro,
  • Morocco,
  • Mozambique,
  • Nepal,
  • Netherlands,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Niger,
  • Nigeria,
  • North Macedonia,
  • Norway the following counties are classified as risk areas: Oslo, Vestland, Viken,
  • Oman,
  • Pakistan,
  • Palestinian territories,
  • Panama,
  • Papua New Guinea,
  • Paraguay,
  • Peru,
  • Philippines,
  • Poland,
  • Portugal the complete country with exception of the autonomous regions Azores and Madeira,
  • Qatar,
  • Republic of Moldova,
  • Republic of the Congo,
  • Romania,
  • Russian Federation,
  • San Marino,
  • São Tomé and Príncipe,
  • Saudi Arabia,
  • Senegal,
  • Serbia,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • Slovakia,
  • Slovenia,
  • Somalia,
  • South Africa,
  • South Sudan,
  • Spain the complete country, with the exception of the Canary Islands (as of Oct. 24),
  • Sudan,
  • Suriname,
  • Sweden,
  • Switzerland,
  • Syrian Arab Republic,
  • Tajikistan,
  • Tanzania,
  • Timor Leste (East Timor),
  • Togo,
  • Trinidad Tobago,
  • Tunisia,
  • Turkey,
  • Turkmenistan,
  • Ukraine,
  • United Arab Emirates,
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the complete country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Channel Island Jersey (Crown dependency) and the Overseas Territory Gibraltar is considered as a risk area. Excluded are further British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies Isle of Man and the Channel Island Guernsey,
  • United States,
  • Uzbekistan,
  • Vatican City State,
  • 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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