Over the last few weeks, we have experienced a “new normal”. This includes paying attention to the “DHM formula”: Keeping a distance, following hygiene rules and, when there is little space, wearing a non-medical face mask (community mask). What other precautions must be taken in daily life? What regulations are in place?
On 17 June 2020, the Federal Government and the Länder decided to extend the measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic. The most important rule in all areas is still adhering to the minimum distance of 1.5 metres from other people. In addition, people are still required to follow the hygiene rules (proper coughing and sneezing, washing hands) and wearing a community mask (obligatory when shopping or using public transport).
It is recommended to keep the number of people you are in contact with as small as possible and ideally remain within the same circle of people. Additionally, you are best meeting other people outdoors. The Länder are free to determine the conditions under which they allow private meetings to take place. The hygiene and social distancing rules should also be followed during private meetings in enclosed spaces at people’s homes (LINK: https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/informieren/alltag-gestalten/#faqitem=75f32393-9834-5c10-8993-2ba1050d88d8) Adequate ventilation should be ensured.
The details of some rules are determined by the Länder themselves, depending on their individual rates of infection and regional characteristics. Please check the rules that apply in your Land (LINK: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/coronavirus/corona-bundesländer-1745198).
Local authorities can respond with new restrictions immediately, should a regional spike in the infection rate occur.
Please check the regulations that apply in your Bundesland by using its official sources, such as the website of your Land Government:
The Länder determine for themselves regarding the gradual easing of the restrictions on public life. They do this having regard to the regional development of COVID-19 infection numbers.
In Germany, the Länder have legislative powers in certain policy areas, include health. They can thus adopt individual measures. The Federal Government has a recommending function and works closely with the various state governments in order to develop a common strategy.
It is currently impossible to tell when the restrictions of 17 June will be able to be further. The rules will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis and regionally adapted under the responsibility of the Länder in light of local infection rates. Local authorities can respond with restrictions immediately, should there be a regional spike in the infection rate or a local outbreak.
The Federal Government and the Länder have decided on a joint emergency mechanism in the event of an increase in the number of infections. If an administrative district or municipality records more than 50 new infections in total per 100,000 population over a seven-day period, regional restrictions must be imposed immediately. In the case of a localised and clearly containable spate of infections, such as in an institutional facility, the restrictions may be limited to the facility concerned. Responsibility for the measures lies with the Land.
A daily life with less infection and more consideration means following the DHM formula. Distance, Hygiene, Masks.
Outside sports and training practice in amateur and leisure sports is now permitted again. Fitness training and competitive sports may gradually be resumed. In spaces where it is very difficult to maintain the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 metres from others, you should refrain from doing sports with other people. Some Federal Laender have different rules. Please check which rules apply where you are. There are various online opportunities that enable you to participate in sports and fitness programmes. Detailed information available here.
This mode of transmission cannot be excluded. It is extremely important to maintain sufficient distance. When you breathe deeply while doing sports, the droplets you exhale are expelled further than usual. You should therefore follow the distancing rules even more stringently when out of breath. When jogging, try to avoid running in someone else’s slipstream. Doing sports in larger groups of people poses a larger risk of infection and is still forbidden in most Laender. Each Land currently has its own regulations. Please check the current rules on contact restriction in your area. In general, please behave according to the DHM formula: Maintain a distance (at least 1.5 metres), adhere to hygiene rules (proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, washing hands) and, where there is little room, wear a non-medical face mask (community mask).
Gatherings at churches, mosques or synagogues, as well as religious festivals or events, and gatherings of other religious communities are still forbidden.
We provide the most important information in German here: https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/informieren/informationen-fuer-urlaubsreisende.
Please wear a community mask on trams and trains, at train stations, platforms and tram stops, as well as on airport grounds and in aeroplanes. The safety distance of at least 1.5 metres from other travellers and company staff should be adhered to at all times. Deutsche Bahn provides useful information regarding safe travel on its website. Domestic and international flights have started increasing again since mid-2020. Unnecessary queuing, for instance to go to the toilet, should be avoided on the aeroplane. When embarking and disembarking, as well as in the aeroplane itself, a face mask must be worn throughout. This can briefly be removed to eat or drink. However, when seated on the plane next to persons who do not belong to the same household, meals should not be consumed at the same time. Further information can be found on the Robert Koch-Institute’s website.
Irrespective of the amount of sales space, shops observing enhanced hygiene requirements may open for business again. This means that, in a shop, it must be possible to keep at least 1.5 metres from any other person at every given moment. Furthermore, the Laender have introduced a rule on wearing non-medical face masks, so-called “community masks”, when shopping. The regulations may differ from region to region, so please familiarise yourself with the rules in place where you are. If possible, you should try to bundle your purchases and reduce the number of trips to the shops. Please also pay attention to the hygiene rules: cough and sneeze (into the crook of your arm rather than into your hand) and keep your distance (at least 1.5 metres) from others. Wash your hands as soon as you get back home. You can ask older persons if they need help with their shopping.
The Länder have introduced rules on wearing non-medical mouth and nose masks, called everyday masks, when travelling on public transport and when shopping. Rules on wearing mouth and nose masks can differ from region to region, so please familiarise yourself with the rules that apply where you live. At all times, even if you wear a mouth and nose mask: Keep at least 1.5 metres away from others, practice good hand hygiene and adhere to sneezing and coughing etiquette.
Supermarket shopping baskets can still be used. Many stores have started to carry out increased cleaning, including shopping baskets and shopping cart handles. When in public spaces, adhere to the rules on contact and maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from other persons. Remember to wash your hands once you arrive at home.
In supermarkets, as elsewhere, you should keep at least 1.5 metres away from others. Some supermarkets indicate this using floor markings or assign employees or security personnel to monitor access. Such precautionary measures serve to protect against viral transmission. The Länder have introduced rules on wearing non-medical mouth and nose masks, called everyday masks, when travelling on public transport and when shopping. Rules on wearing mouth and nose masks can differ from region to region, so please familiarise yourself with the rules that apply where you live.
Transmission of the novel coronavirus through foods or packaging is highly unlikely. Therefore, there is no need for disinfection. Wash your hands after unpacking your shopping.
Catering establishments have already been reopened in all sixteen Länder. In restaurants as elsewhere, please behave according to the DHM formula: Maintain a distance (at least 1.5 metres), observe the hygiene rules (proper coughing, sneezing and washing hands) and, where there is little room, wear a non-medical face mask (community mask). The Länder determine the rules for restaurants and any additional requirements for themselves in light of their individual infection numbers. Additional requirements may apply in specific Länder, please refer to the regulations of your Land. You can find information among other places on the websites of each of the Länder. An overview is available here:
With the easing of measures to contain the novel coronavirus, many cinemas are now reopening their doors. Cinema operators must implement strict hygiene and distancing rules to ensure the safety and health of all filmgoers. This includes the minimum distance of 1.5 metres between individuals, which can be indicated by barriers and markings, and the availability of handwashing facilities and disinfectant dispensers. Whether cinema-goers have to wear a community mask varies from state to state. Before going to the cinema, please check with the cinema operator and the rules that apply in your Land.
Since 4 May, hairdressers are allowed to reopen their business, assuming they are able to fully implement the requirements regarding hygiene, controlling access and avoiding queueing. Further information for employees and customers is available on the website of the employers' liability insurance association responsible for you. Please contact your hairdresser in advance to inform yourself regarding rules and regulations.
There are currently no restrictions on the sending or delivery of letters and packages in Germany. In the case of international deliveries, border controls and changes in transport processes can lead to delays.
Transmission of the novel coronavirus through letters or packages is highly unlikely. There is no need for disinfection. Wash your hands after unpacking any packages.
Public offices such as the job centre and the employment office can be reached by phone, email or fax. Some job centres have set up additional telephone numbers so as to be able to process cases within the deadlines. Payments to all persons who rely on monetary benefits such as family allowance or supplementary child allowance are guaranteed. Anyone who becomes unemployed or needs basic social security protection, can register and apply for benefits by phone or online.
The cleaner is a service provider and may go into private households. Nonetheless, other people who do not live in your household may only enter your home if absolutely necessary. All non-necessary work should be postponed for the time being.
If you need help that cannot be put off until a later date, the following applies: Talk to your cleaner and agree that they will wear a mouth and nose mask, observe coughing and sneezing etiquette, and practice good hand hygiene. If you are at home while the cleaner is there, you should keep the 1.5 metre distance. When the cleaner has finished, you should open the windows and air your home, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as taps.
Yes, doctor’s visits are possible. Before you visit the doctor, please be sure to call the office beforehand and announce your visit. Many officers have set up separate areas for patients with infectious diseases and patients without symptoms. Do not enter a doctor’s office without having called beforehand.
Online video consultation is the digital alternative to a regular visit to the doctor’s surgery. Instead of it taking place in the doctor’s office, the conversation takes place online via video call.
One advantage of online video consultations during the coronavirus pandemic is that patients no longer need to leave their homes to see a doctor and thereby avoid potential risks of infection. The online video consultation has proven particularly useful with everyday illnesses among people who, due to pre-existing conditions, are at an increased risk of an infection with the novel coronavirus taking a serious course. However, it should not always be favoured over a regular consultation. In some instances, direct contact with the doctor is unavoidable.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased the popularity of online video consultations among patients as well as doctors. More information can be found in our article "So funktioniert die Videosprechstunde" (How an online video consultation works).
In order to better manage the expected strain on hospitals, in the interests of safety, non-urgent operations (and treatments) are being postponed. This ensures all patients get the best-possible treatment. You can find out whether or not your surgery is affected from your hospital.
Outpatient care for long-term care patients is still possible. A number of home care services have taken preventive measures in preparation for coronavirus and have set up infection protection teams. Areas such as accident assistance, rescue services or home emergency call services can still be reached in the event of an emergency.
Very often, prescriptions can be sent by mail if the doctor knows the patient. If necessary, it is possible for the prescription and the medicine to be delivered by courier.
Quarantine means the temporary, officially ordered isolation of a potentially or actually infected person in order to prevent the spread of a virus. This occurs over the maximum duration of the incubation period – so in the case of SARS-CoV-2: a maximum of fourteen days. The quarantine can be limited to individual people in their own homes or the population of an entire region.
Self-quarantine is a voluntary measure based on the idea of avoiding any contact with other people outside one’s own home to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Home quarantine means not being able to leave the house. Potentially there is the possibility to ask relatives or neighbours to take care of it. Here it should, however, be urgently noted that direct personal contact must be avoided and purchases, for instance, be left by the front door. Some large supermarket chains also offer a delivery service, which is advisable during the quarantine.
Isolation means spatially separating sick people from healthy people. This should help prevent the further infection of healthy people. Isolation can be carried out in the hospital or – assuming the symptoms allow it – at home.