COVID-19 Corona: What's Important To Stay Safe

Due to the situation remaining critical, the rules for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed again. For a simple update on what's changed, check here.

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

What's Important: COVID-19 Regulations in Hamburg

Please note that only the German version of the regulations published in the Hamburg Law and Ordinance Gazette (available on the Internet at is legally binding. For more information, please see the rules and regulations for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more English information, please see our English FAQs and our translation of the official German regulations.

The COVID strategy until mid-February

Since the start of January, the increase rate in COVID-19 infections have not been sinking quickla enough and the pandemic situation remains critical in Hamburg and all over Germany. The total number in infections is still rising and intensive care units in hospitals are consistently working at their limits.

That’s why the restrictions in effect since December have to be continued until mid-February the least. Hopefully, the following measures will help gain control over the situation again.

This is still important

Still, the most effective means to slow down the increase in COVID-19 infections are:

  • physical distancing;
  • restricting physical contacts;
  • wearing medical face masks (see below);
  • keeping an eye on personal hygiene and health;
  • contact tracing; and
  • testing for COVID-19.

This is new from 21 January 2021

Changes in the obligation to wear a face mask
In addition to the general obligation to wear face masks in public places, all persons are now required to wear medical face masks in certain areas of public life. These areas include, but are not limited to, buses, trains and other public means of transport, retail and grocery shops, medical facilities, and other public places.

Medical masks are surgical masks and other face masks fulfilling the KN95 or FFP2 standards. In those places mentioned above, every-day cotton face masks or any other piece of cloth wrapped around the face are not sufficient any longer.

If applicable, in all school buildings and on school premises, wearing a face mask is also obligatory; all students grade 5 or above and Berufsschule students must also wear face masks in class.

Please note that transparent plastic visors do not count as sufficient face masks.

Persons failing or refusing to wear an appropriate face mask covering their mouth and nose may face a fine after 31 January, 2021.

Further contact restrictions
Private meetings with friends and family must be limited to persons sharing the same household and a maximum of only one additional person from another household.

It is highly recommended that physical contact should be reduced to an absolutely necessary minimum and that the usual hygiene measures should be observed as strictly as possible.

Please remember to wear a suitable face mask covering mouth and nose whenever there is a chance that the place gets crowded – and, of course, where it is mandatory.

And please stick to the rules of the infection control concepts at all public spaces, for example when going shopping or buying groceries.

Home office
Employers are now required to enable and encourage their employees to work from home wherever this is practicable. Wherever employees still have to come together to fulfill their work duties, wearing a medical face mask is mandatory; the respective employer is responsible for making suitable masks available to the employees.

Child care
From 25 January, day care centres for children (Kitas) are closed with an extended emergency care programme. This emergency care programme means that Kitas may still take care of children with an urgent need for socio-educational care. This applies to children with single parents, children whose parents work in jobs urgently needed to maintain security or important infrastructures, and children who are in need of care because of emergencies in their families.

Situation in schools
Hamburg’s schools will provide classes via distance education until mid-February. This means that wherever possible, classes take place in homeschooling with online tutoring. It is highly recommended that parents should not send their children to school.

Only if homeschooling or online tutoring are not possible can parents send their children to school where adequate care will be provided under educational supervision.

Public gatherings
The obligation to wear a medical face mask applies to all kinds of public gatherings. Public meetings in the open air are only permitted for no more than 100 persons; parades are generally prohibited.

This also still applies

No closures for retail and grocery shops
The essential retail and grocery shops remain open; the usual hygiene concepts still apply. The obligation to wear medical face masks applies.

Dry cleaners and laundrettes may remain open under strict conditions. Pharmacies, banks, post offices, petrol stations, craft businesses and hardware stores may also remain open. Giving away food samples or unpacked samples of beauty products is not allowed.

Restrictions on gastronomy, leisure, entertainment and cultural activities
All restaurants, cafés, bars and clubs are temporarily closed. But you can still support your local restaurant if they offer delivery or collection of food to eat at home.

Events that serve entertainment and leisure purposes are prohibited. Amusement parks and other facilities for leisure activities are not allowed to open.

The restrictions also concern the operation of sports facilities: Indoor sports halls, gyms and similar facilities, swimming pools and saunas are closed. It is allowed to do outdoor sports alone, in groups of two or with persons of your own household; this includes outdoor sports grounds. Special exceptions apply to professional athletes. In professional sport, matches may only be held without an audience.

There will be extensive support programmes for Hamburg sports in the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-profit sports clubs, providers of rehabilitation sports courses, organisers of sports events and similar businesses dependent on sports which are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for non-repayable grants.

Body-care services are closed; this includes hairdressers’ and beauty salons, massage parlours and tattoo studios. Treatments for medical reasons are still possible; the obligation to wear a medical face mask applies. Sex work facilities as well as casinos, gambling halls and betting shops are also closed.

In addition, theatres, cinemas, operas, concert halls and museums have to close in order to minimise contacts in general.

Canteens and cafeterias
Non-public staff canteens and cafeterias may continue operating, but only if their operation is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of work processes. If possible, the food should be made available for take-away. Exceptions are only permitted if it is not possible for the staff to take their meals individually in separate rooms at the place of work.

Testing obligatory for persons entering from high-risk areas
Anyone entering from a risk area must undergo testing for COVID-19 immediately upon their arrival. Further details will be issued by the German government shortly and then deployed by the City of Hamburg.

Arriving travellers can also still put themselves in quarantine for 10 consecutive days and notify the local public health office. This notification should be made digitally if possible. Testing in order to end the quarantine may commence no sooner than on the fifth day after entry.

Business and financial support
The German government and the Hamburg Senate are committed to mitigating the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the measures taken by the government, the city of Hamburg has initiated a support programme for companies and self-employed persons across all sectors; there will also be programmes for economic growth in effect. These include low-interest loans and emergency relief as well as temporary support or the possibility of deferring trade tax and reducing advance tax payments.

For an overview of the current support programmes, see: (German only).

These rules stay in effect until at least 14 February 2021.

Please note that only the German version of the regulations published in the Hamburg Law and Ordinance Gazette (available on the Internet at is legally binding. For more information, please see the rules and regulations for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more English information, please see our English FAQs and our translation of the official German regulations.

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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