Germany: these federal states are stepping up measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic

The seven-day incidence of COVID-19 in Germany is now at just under 400. With the number of new coronavirus infections rising rapidly, more and more German states are tightening measures to combat the pandemic. Here is an overview of the changes already in place and those announced (as of Tuesday, November 23). Note that the situation is dynamic.


In Bavaria, much stricter regulations to counter the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are to take effect from Wednesday. On Tuesday morning, the government decided on the measures, which were to be discussed in parliament in the afternoon. It was agreed that from Wednesday a maximum of five people from two households will be allowed in Bavaria – children under the age of twelve and vaccinated people are not included in this limit.

With the exception of the commercial sector, the 2G rule will apply everywhere, including hair and beauty salons, universities and colleges, music schools and driving schools. In stores, one person per ten square meters of floor space will be allowed. In cultural and sporting events, the public will be allowed to occupy a maximum of 25 percent of the seats in the auditorium. In addition, theaters, opera houses, stadiums, as well as recreational facilities and fairs are to have a 2G plus rule, which means that only vaccinated persons and recovering persons who can additionally show a negative test result for coronavirus will be allowed to enter these facilities.

Christmas markets are to be cancelled completely across the state. Food establishments are to remain open until a maximum of 10 p.m. All clubs, discos, bars and pubs will have to be closed for the next three weeks, as will public houses.

Schools and day-care centers will remain open, schooling is to continue as usual. However, even in physical education classes, the wearing of masks will be required. PCR tests are to be introduced in day-care centers, as well as in secondary schools (especially in the 5th and 6th grades); otherwise, rapid tests will continue to be used. What is new is that in elementary and special schools, where PCR tests are already conducted, coronavirus rapid tests are to be conducted in addition on Monday mornings in the future, since PCR test results are not available until the evening.

In counties and county towns with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in a seven-day period, public life will be severely restricted. All kinds of catering, accommodation, sports and cultural facilities, hairdressing establishments, beauty salons, etc. will have to close, recreational, sports and cultural events will not be allowed to take place. Universities will have to switch to remote teaching. Schools and day care centers will remain open, as will stores, with only one person per 20 square meters of space allowed in retail establishments.


The Baden-Württemberg government was expected to pass a new ordinance on Tuesday providing for enhanced pandemic control measures to take effect as early as Wednesday. If this happens, the 2G plus rule is to apply at events accompanied by singing or brass band music, Christmas markets, bars and clubs.

The new alert level is set to go into effect when the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units rises to more than 450 or when the so-called hospitalization rate (the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 per 100,000 population in a seven-day period) reaches 6. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units already exceeds 450, meaning the new rules are likely to go into effect as early as Wednesday to slow the surge in coronavirus infections and ease the burden on hospitals. In counties where the seven-day incidence of COVID-19 exceeds 500, nighttime movement restrictions are also to be in place (only for unvaccinated people).

Since last Wednesday, Baden-Württemberg has already been on level I alert: unvaccinated people are largely excluded from participating in public life. Only vaccinated and recovered persons are now allowed to go to the cinema, museum, swimming pool, etc. In addition, there are restrictions on social contact for the unvaccinated. They may meet only one person outside their household.


In Berlin, stricter measures against the coronavirus pandemic are likely to take effect soon. Residents must expect that only vaccinated people and recovered patients will have access to most stores starting this weekend. This will not apply to convenience stores, including supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies. According to the German Press Agency, Berlin’s Senate agreed Tuesday to extend the so-called 2G rules accordingly. This is in response to a surge in new coronavirus infections and a heavy burden on intensive care units.

On the other hand, in many areas of public life in Berlin, to which, due to the coronavirus pandemic, only vaccinated and cured (2G) people already have access anyway, additional requirements such as masks or tests are to apply – at least according to the German Press Agency. There are reportedly plans to make masks mandatory wherever the 2G rule currently applies, such as in cultural and recreational facilities. In places where this is not possible, such as dance clubs, it will be required to show a negative test result and keep your distance.


Due to the increasing burden on hospitals, the government of Brandenburg wants to tighten restrictions on unvaccinated persons. On Tuesday, a decision was to be made on whether the 2G rule would also extend to the retail sector with the exception of supermarkets and other convenience stores. The 2G rule already applies to restaurants, theaters, movie theaters, concert halls and recreational pools.

Restrictions on social interaction are also planned. A maximum of five people will be allowed to meet in public spaces, not including vaccinated and recovering patients. The same goes for private parties or rented rooms at restaurants.

Christmas markets will be closed. In addition, travel restrictions are planned from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. if the seven-day incidence of COVID-19 in a county or incorporated city exceeds 1,000 and the occupancy rate for intensive care unit beds across the state exceeds 10 percent. In three counties in the south, the number of new infections per 100,000 residents in one week already exceeds the 1,000 level.

Compulsory school attendance is also to be abolished. “This is the wish of many parents who do not want to send their children to school,” said Education Minister Britta Ernst (SPD), explaining the move in an interview with RBB-Inforadio. She added that studies are still underway on the possibility of exempting final-year students who face matriculation exams next year.


With the pandemic spreading rapidly, the Thuringian government is introducing stricter regulations to better protect residents from contagion. Health Minister Heike Werner has announced the closure of clubs, bars and discos. In addition, a curfew is to be enforced (from 10pm to 5am).

A special meeting of the Thuringian parliament on the issue is scheduled for Wednesday. Since the Left, the SPD and the Greens do not have a majority in the state parliament, the FDP or CDU deputies would also have to agree to the new restrictions. It is not yet known whether this will be successful.


Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has also decided to tighten its pandemic regulations. If the orange warning level (hospitalization rate of 6.0) comes into effect in a district, a city with district rights or in the entire state, the 2G plus rule will come into effect in restaurants, fitness centers, hotels, cinemas and theaters, among others, as explained by Health Minister Stefanie Drese (SPD). This means that only people who have been vaccinated and treated, and who are additionally able to show a current negative coronavirus test result, will be allowed to enter the aforementioned facilities. The 2G rule is then to apply at Christmas markets.

For the red warning level (hospitalization rate > 9.0), restrictions on social contact and the 2G rule coming into effect during shopping are also planned. On Tuesday, the hospitalization rate exceeded 9.0 in the districts of Ludwigslust-Parchim (12.7), Vorpommern-Rügen (9.8) and Mecklenburgische Seenplatte (9.3).

For the yellow warning level (hospitalization rate > 3.0), the 2G rule applies in many areas indoors.

Lower Saxony

Lower Saxony is introducing a new regulation providing for the application of the 2G rule in almost all areas of public life. This was announced on Tuesday in Hannover by Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD). From Wednesday, only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19 will therefore be allowed into many places. This means big restrictions for unvaccinated people.

North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia will have stricter pandemic control rules from Wednesday. This was announced by Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) presenting an updated regulation on the matter in Düsseldorf.

From Wednesday, adults who are not vaccinated or are not recovered will not be allowed access to recreational facilities (rule 2G). In places where the risk of infection is particularly high – such as discos or clubs – even vaccinated persons and those who have recovered from COVID-19 will have to present a current negative test result for coronavirus (rule 2G plus). Exceptions will be made for minors and those who have not been recommended for vaccination or who cannot be vaccinated.

Laumann said those who are not vaccinated will thus be largely barred from participating in society, except for work life. It is irresponsible not to vaccinate if your health permits it, the minister stressed. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are still about one million workers who have not been vaccinated. Starting Wednesday, they will have to come to work with a current negative coronavirus test.


The Hamburg Senate wants the 2G rule to extend to cultural institutions and accommodation facilities. This means that starting next Monday, only vaccinated and recovered persons will be allowed to go to theaters, cinemas, recreational facilities and hotels, Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) announced Tuesday after the Senate meeting.


Only vaccinated and cured people will soon have access to certain areas of public life in Saxony-Anhalt. The government announced Tuesday in Magdeburg a nationwide requirement for the 2G rule, among other things, inside catering establishments, in cultural and recreational facilities, at events with at least 50 people, and when using hotel accommodations for private purposes. Exceptions are to be made for children and young people.

3G rule in the workplace will apply across Germany from Wednesday

On Wednesday, a new Infection Protection Act also comes into force, providing for the application of 3G rules in the workplace as well as on buses and trains. It was published Tuesday in the Federal Law Gazette. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier affixed his signature on Monday.

For now, the new law does not include restrictions on movement or school closures. However, it is to be evaluated at the next meeting between representatives of the federal government and the prime ministers of the individual states on December 9 and tightened if necessary.


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