COVID-19 Corona: What's New

Official information on the rules and regulations in Hamburg changes frequently. For a simple update on what's changed, check here.

What's changed with Hamburg's latest rules and regulations

What's New: COVID-19 Regulations in Hamburg

Even more restrictions have been relaxed since 1 July 2020: with some exceptions, many things are permitted if certain health protection requirements are met. 

Thanks to Hamburg’s residents generally careful following of previous restrictions over the last few months, the spread of the virus has slowed down considerably and further relaxing of the restrictions is now possible.

Please note that the only the original German version of the regulations published in the Hamburg Law and Ordinance Gazette (available on the Internet at is legally binding. For more English information, please see our English translation of the regulations and our FAQs.

Currently, there is a relatively low risk of infection. Remember, however, that the virus has not disappeared altogether. If the requirements for the protection of the citizenship were abandoned entirely, the few people who are currently ill could trigger new chains of infection.

In order for life in Hamburg to slowly return to normal, everyone is asked to continue observing certain rules of infection protection.

The risk that a single infected person could infect a large number of people in a short time is particularly high in certain areas. This is why in these particular circumstances especially, there can be no refraining from these restrictions as of yet.

The Following Are Prohibited or Closed:

  • large events with more than 1,000 attendees, without exception
  • saunas, steam baths, whirlpool baths, spas
  • smoking shisha and other hookah in bars or other public spaces
  • dancing in public spaces is prohibited; therefore clubs and discotheques and music clubs where people are expected to dance are closed
  • open buffets in restaurants and hotels
  • Volksfeste, or large funfairs, such as the Hamburg DOM.

Current Rules in Order to Prevent Infection:

Physical distancing
In public places, people must maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from each other. This minimum distance applies everywhere and to everyone with only a few exceptions. The general contact rules, including these exceptions, can be found in the next paragraph under ‘Restricting Physical Contacts’.

This physical distancing rule applies in all public spaces.

Public spaces are all locations that are accessible to everyone: examples for outdoor public spaces are sidewalks, streets, squares and parks; in enclosed spaces, they include, for example, shops, supermarkets, bars, restaurants and cultural institutions.

Retail, accommodation, cultural and sports facilities must ensure that proper physical distance between customers and guests can be maintained – for example, by limiting the number of customers or guests in the same space at a certain time.

But each and every one of us also bears a responsibility. In a big city like Hamburg, streets or squares can sometimes get crowded. If it’s not possible to keep the minimum distance – for example at markets or in shopping areas – it’s sometimes better to step out of the crowd or leave altogether.

Restricting physical Contacts
The more physical contact we have, the greater the risk of infection. In order to prevent the virus from spreading again, the number of physical contacts without minimum distance should be limited to the lowest level possible.

These groups of people are allowed to meet in public without the minimum distance:

  1. people living in the same household as well as life partners, children, siblings and grandparents
  2. people who work in a job at which they cannot always keep their distance. These professions can be found in the regulations
  3. in public spaces, up to 10 people from any number of households are allowed to get together. If there are only two households involved, more than 10 people can get together.

In practical terms, this means that you can go out and arrange meetings outside your own home, provided that no more than 10 people meet.

It is, for example, no problem to go to a cinema or restaurant with friends or colleagues and sit together in a small group, but remember to keep an eye on the number of people. And please remember to keep your distance from other people, for example waiters and salespeople or other diners at restaurant tables.

Contact tracing
In order to prevent the virus from spreading again, it is important to be able to trace possible new chains of infection and reconstruct the contacts of the infected persons to notify everyone possibly affected. In restaurants, cinemas and many other public spaces, visitors are therefore asked to provide their contact details. If there should be another case of illness, this makes it possible to trace a chain of infection back to the person who might have infected others.

The government has also issued a Corona Warning App (Corona-Warn-App), which can help with the tracking. The app can tell quickly if another app user with whom you’ve had contact has tested positive for COVID-19. You can find the app in the Apple or Google Play App Stores where you can download it to your smartphone for free.

Wearing a face mask
Public transport and shopping areas can get crowded quickly and suddenly – despite all efforts to keep your distance. It goes without saying, therefore, that wearing a mouth and nose cover is a must for everyone in these places.

People who cannot wear a face mask for reasons of personal health, for example due to a previous illness or serious breathing problems, are exempt from the obligation to wear a mask. Upon entering shops, markets or public transport vehicles without a face mask, such persons must provide reasonable proof for this, for example by way of a medical certificate, a pass for severely handicapped persons or an allergy pass.

Keeping an eye on hygiene and health
Personal hygiene can protect against infection: wash your hands frequently and sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm. A used tissue should be thrown in the garbage immediately.

Textile face masks should be washed regularly at a high temperature. After use, they should be carried in a separate container.

Shops, pubs, restaurants, events, cultural facilities and other public services must draw up an infection control concept. Customers and guests must comply with these rules. Anyone who feels symptoms of an illness connected to the respiratory organs is not allowed to enter public spaces, shops, public transport vehicles or event locations.

What Is Allowed (If We Play by the Rules):

Events with a limited number of people are okay. Limiting the number of people is necessary to help keep physical distance. The number of people allowed depends on whether the event takes place indoors or outdoors, with or without fixed seating, and with or without the sale of alcoholic beverages:

  • outdoors and with fixed seating (as, for example, in outdoor theatres or outdoor cinemas), up to 1,000 people can be admitted;
  • indoors and with fixed seating, up to 650 people can be part of the action;
  • outdoors, without fixed seating and without the sale of alcoholic drinks, as many as 200 people are allowed;
  • in closed rooms, however, without fixed seating and without serving alcohol, up to 100 people may come together;
  • under the open sky, without fixed seating and with a bar serving alcohol, no more than 100 people may meet;
  • but at indoor events, without fixed seating and with alcoholic drinks being served, only up to 50 people may join in.

At all events, the general hygiene, distancing and contact rules apply. The organiser must take care that the physical distance between people can be kept. In closed rooms, organisers must take further measures, for example, by providing room ventilation and by giving guests the opportunity to wash and disinfect their hands.

In this context, an event is defined as such when it has a certain purpose of entertainment but does not serve to sell goods. An event is organised for an audience, guests or participants. Whether the event is private or public, commercial or free of charge is irrelevant for the definition as an event. The term covers cultural events and competitions as well as private celebrations of all kinds.

Private events at home
Celebrations and other events in private houses and apartments are allowed, but only if there are no more than 25 people. Then the physical distance does not necessarily have to be observed – but it is highly recommended not to get too close to each other.

Events in private gardens belonging to the house or apartment are also okay. Kleingärten, allotment gardens, however, are not considered part of the house or apartment, meaning that the general distancing and contact restriction rules apply.

The general rules of events also apply to weddings:

  • only up to 25 people are allowed to celebrate a wedding at a private home;
  • a celebration outside of the home is considered an event without fixed seating and with alcoholic drinks; therefore, 100 people are allowed to take part outdoors and 50 people indoors;
  • in the event that no alcohol is served, 200 people may celebrate outdoors and 100 indoors;
  • for a wedding celebration outside your own home, the general contact rules apply, meaning that no more than 10 people from different households may sit at the same table or get together in any other way;
  • as for all events, there must be an infection control concept at hand;
  • buffets are not allowed;
  • it is okay to play music, but unfortunately, dancing is off limits. There is a slightly larger minimum distance of 2.5 metres required from the stage or band.

Gatherings of people
In the open air, gatherings with up to 1,000 persons are permitted. Up to 300 persons are allowed to gather in closed rooms.

Information points of political parties and non-profit associations are also permitted. The general distancing and contact rules apply at all meetings.

Open-air meetings must also normally be arranged in advance. If the responsible authority considers it necessary, the organisers must be prepared to present an infection control concept at any time.

The general rules for events also apply to performances or other events at theatres, cinemas, concert halls, planetariums and other state and private cultural institutions, again with a limited number of people allowed. Visitors must follow the rules of hygiene and physical distancing.

A minimum physical distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained between audience members. An extended distance of 2.5 meters must be maintained between the audience and the stage.

Restaurants, bars and cafés
The general rules of distancing and contact restrictions also apply in all gastronomic facilities, that is in restaurants, bars, cafés and similar places. Guests must provide their contact details and stick to the hygiene rules.

If there is an event, the corresponding event rules apply. If there is a stage, the distance from the audience to the stage must be 2.5 metres.

Buffets are not permitted.

Dancing is not permitted.

Smoking shisha or other hookah-style devices is not permitted.

Open-air sports and swimming pools; grilling in parks
All sports are generally possible as long as the contact rules are met. This means that up to 10 people can participate outdoors in sport activities in the outdoors without a minimum distance and take part in competitions.

All organisers, operators and clubs must draw up an infection control concept and ensure that people can follow the physical distancing rules. They also have to record the contact details of the participants.

All open-air public swimming pools are allowed to open.

An extended minimum distance of 2.5 metres must be maintained when swimming in indoor public pools.

Picnics and grilling are allowed in parks and in other public spaces, but the rules of physical distancing and contact restriction apply. This means that you can grill or picnic together with a group of as many as 10 people; if the group gets bigger, you must remember to keep your distance.

Accommodation and tourism
Overnight stays in hotels, hostels, guesthouses, holiday homes and on campsites are allowed under the usual conditions: physical distancing, hygiene rules, contact details.

Using a sauna, whirlpool bath, steam bath or thermal bath with others is not allowed.

Dormitories may sleep a maximum of four people at a time.

Buffets are prohibited.

Renting out private apartments for commercial accommodation is prohibited.

Accommodating guests who have previously stayed in an area with an increased risk of infection is prohibited. If a guest has a valid negative test for COVID-19 from within the preceding 48 hours, then they may stay overnight.

Trips on coach buses, boat trips and sightseeing tours can be made without limiting the number of guests.

The general distance and contact rules apply in all public spaces. But as it can be crowded in public transport regardless, people must wear face masks in all public transport vehicles as well as in all stations and at all train and bus stops. In taxis, passengers must also wear a face mask. The driver only has to wear a face mask if there are no other means of protection, for example a partition wall between them and the client(s). Anyone who feels symptoms of an illness of the respiratory organs is not allowed to use public transport.

Retail, markets, smaller fairs
In retail shops, pharmacies, banks, post offices, commercial exhibition areas and at markets and trade fairs, the rules of physical distancing and contact restriction apply. The owners or operators have to stick to the hygiene rules and make sure that there is enough space for everyone to keep their distance.

Food samples may not be offered. Providing samples of unpackaged cosmetics for testing is also not allowed.

Trade fairs, flea markets and other markets (for example Jahrmärkte, as defined in the Gewerbeordnung) may also reopen to the public under the usual conditions.

All customers must wear face masks. Employers are responsible for the protection of their employees.

Jobs with physical contact
Barbershops, salons, nail studios, beauty parlours and tattoo studios must record their customers' contact details and draw up an infection control concept in cooperation with their Berufsgenossenschaft (professional insurance association). If possible, clients must wear a face mask. Whenever wearing a face mask and keeping the minimum distance are not possible, other measures must be taken.

Day care centres for children, schools, universities and other places for education
All private and public educational institutions have reopened. For more information on the reopening on Hamburg's schools after the summer holidays, see here.

All institutions must be able to present an infection control concept.

The rules of physical distancing should be observed, as long as this does not interfere with the educational tasks and as long as the spatial conditions allow it.

In terms of infection control, the number of hours per child or student in day care centres and schools must be partially reduced.

Whenever there can be no in-person classes, these can be replaced by distance learning. If students are ill or live together with ill or vulnerable persons, they are exempted from attending classes.

Attendance is obligatory for examinations in schools and universities, with exams being held under strict conditions.

2020 summer semester classes at state universities will be digital. There are exceptions for certain practical courses, such as laboratory classes, which can take place in-person but require the usual protective measures. For in-person events, which take place currently only at private universities, the usual event restriction with a limited number of people apply.

Classes at music schools, choirs, dance schools, ballet and drama schools are allowed, but only under strict conditions.

Please be extra careful with activities that involve high levels of breathing, such as singing, dancing or playing wind instruments. In these cases, there must be an extended minimum distance of 2.5 metres. The general rules on physical distancing and contact restrictions also apply in dance schools. In classes for any styles of partner dancing, changing dance partners is only allowed within a group of 10 people.

Hospitals and nursing homes
Visiting relatives and friends in hospital is once again allowed for children under the age of 16. People living in nursing homes may have two visitors indoors at the same time for up to three hours. In outdoor areas, even more visitors are allowed to stay and for an unlimited period of time.

Places of worship
Worship services, for example in churches, mosques and synagogues or in the open air, require the usual rules of physical distancing and contact restrictions.

The organisers must ensure that attendees have access to hygiene facilities and that enough room is available so that the attendees can keep the minimum distance.

We would like to say thank you for being considerate and respectful, and for taking these rules of infection control and mutual support seriously!

Corona: What's New

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