Landungsbrücken

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

After a sharp increase in rates over the past few weeks, there are further COVID-19-related restrictions in Hamburg. Here is a brief overview.

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 www.luewu.de) 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-19 situation in Hamburg

Due to an increase in new infections with COVID-19 and rising incidence rates, the Hamburg Senate has passed further rules to slow down the infection dynamics and combat the pandemic. This is intended to prevent the health care system from collapsing. The new rules and restrictions stay in effect until at least 18 April 2021.

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;
  • keeping an eye on personal hygiene and health;
  • contact tracing;
  • testing for COVID-19; and
  • staying home.

The following apply from 2 April 2021

Curfew
A nightly curfew will be in place between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following morning. This means people may only be in public spaces if they can prove they have a valid reason. Valid reasons include being on the way to or from work, medical emergencies, care for domestic animals, or similarly important and inevitable purposes.

Also, a person may be alone outside their home for physical exercise (but not at sports facilities) between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following morning.

Retail and grocery shops, delivery services
Retail business including grocery shops must close by 9 p.m. at the latest. The collection of food from restaurants is allowed no later than 9 p.m. After this time, restaurants may offer their services via delivery only.

Delivery services may still operate regardless of the curfew. Gas/petrol stations and pharmacies may remain open according to law (Ladenschlussgesetz).

Body care services
Body care service providers, such as beauty parlours, tattoo studios, tanning salons, etc. must close again. Service businesses providing urgent medical care, such as hairdressers and barber shops as well as podiatry practices may remain open under strict conditions.

The studios which are allowed to open must meet the general hygiene requirements, draw up an infection control concept, arrange appointments with the clients in advance and collect clients’ contact details. Clients must wear medical face masks and be able to present a negative COVID-19 test from the same day.

Child care and schools
Kitas must close again, but they may provide emergency care programmes for children who urgently need care or supervision.

Hamburg’s schools remain open in hybrid education, but all students attending in-class teaching must undergo obligatory testing for COVID-19. Should the incidence rate in Hamburg exceed 200 for three consecutive days, in-class teaching will be immediately suspended according to the federal decisions of the Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz.

Remote work, masks obligatory in offices
Due to federal decision, employers are required to enable remote work for their employees wherever possible. In addition, Hamburg has tightened the rules for wearing face masks for employees working in shared offices.

Consequently, wearing a medical face mask is obligatory in all offices as soon as there is more than one person present in the room, shared office, or workshop. The face mask may only be removed temporarily if this is absolutely necessary for job performance.

Rapid testing for employees
Businesses in Hamburg are encouraged to enable COVID-19 testing twice per week for their employees as soon as possible. Despite no federal decision making testing employees obligatory, the Senate plans to implement a testing obligation for employees in Hamburg (provided enough tests are available).

Driving lessons
Driving theory lessons must be taught via digital remote education. Driving practice may only be offered under strict hygiene requirements for business training and for instruction units which had already started.

These stricter rules stay in effect until at least 18 April 2021. If Hamburg should reach rates of 200 and above within the upcoming days, even stricter conditions may become necessary.

This is still in effect:

Contact Restrictions
Please continue to avoid physical contact in any possible way. For all necessary meetings in person, the following rules apply:

Persons living in a shared household may meet only one further person. This applies to both private and public situations. Children under the age of 14 are exempt from this rule.

Spouses and life partners are counted as a common household even if they do not live together.

Please maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres to all persons not covered by this rule – whether you are at home, in indoor public spaces or in the outdoors. You need not keep the minimum distance to persons of your shared household, but still it is highly recommended to reduce physical contact to an absolute minimum and to observe the usual hygiene measures as strictly as possible.

The obligation to wear a face mask stays in effect
There is still an obligation to wear a medical face mask in certain areas of public life. Areas where wearing a medical face mask is mandatory include (without being limited to):

  • all means of public transport (for example airplanes, trains, buses, taxis, and other commercial providers of public transport), as well as airports, stations and stops,
  • retail and grocery shops,
  • publicly accessible buildings,
  • cultural institutions,
  • health care facilities and hospitals,
  • places of worship and commemoration, and
  • shared offices and workplaces.

Medical masks are surgical masks, or FFP2 or other face masks fulfilling the KN95 standard. 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. Wherever there is no obligation to wear a medical face mask in closed rooms, it is highly recommended to do so nevertheless.

Where applicable, medical masks must be worn by all persons aged 14 and above. Children under the age of 14 may still wear cotton or cloth face masks.

Additionally, there is still a more general obligation to wear a face mask in certain areas in the open air, especially at outdoor meetings and gatherings. Even though it is allowed to wear cotton or cloth face masks in these cases, it is highly recommended to put on medical face masks here as well; in closed rooms, however, medical face masks are mandatory. Please note that public events and gatherings are generally prohibited and therefore subject to official approval.

The obligation to wear a face mask also applies on playgrounds. If there are only persons sharing the same household on a playground, for example one family, they may take off their face masks.

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.

Shopping
The essential grocery shops and outdoor weekly markets are still open during day time, as are so-called shops for everyday needs; these include pharmacies, shops with delivery and/or collect services, beverage supplies shops, gas stations, laundrettes and dry cleaners, pet supplies shops, kiosks and newsagents.

Book shops, florists and garden centres may also open under strict conditions. Other retail shops may sell items online or on the phone and have them collected by the customers. Appointments for individual in-person consultation are not allowed.

Culture and leisure time
Museums, commemoration sites, galleries, exhibitions, zoos, theatres, musical stages, cinemas, opera and concert halls, music clubs and venues, the planetarium and the house of literature remain closed in order to reduce contacts in general.

The Bücherhallen libraries, community cultural centres and archives may open under strict hygiene requirements; the obligation to wear a face mask applies. Hosting events is still prohibited.

Sports
Exercising sport and training in the open air is allowed alone, in pairs of two or with member of the same household. Children under the age of 14 may do outdoor sporting activities in groups of up to 10 individuals.

Changing rooms in sport centres remain closed (except for the toilets). Fitness and yoga studios, gyms, swimming pools, saunas and thermal baths remain closed.

Restaurants, cafés, bars and alcohol in public
All restaurants, cafés and bars remain closed to public access. But you can still support your local restaurant if they offer collection (only during day time) or delivery of food to eat at home.

Staff canteens and cafeterias without public access may only offer food and drinks for take away unless it is possible to eat and drink in separate rooms.

Hospitals and care facilities
Due to the serious situation, many hospitals have restricted their visiting policies or prohibited visits altogether. Where visits are allowed, the general contact restrictions and hygiene rules apply. Please inquire about additional rules and restrictions at the respective facility.

Visitors at hospitals or care facilities must show evidence that they have tested negative for COVID-19 (PoC antigen testing) before entering the premises; the institutions must provide the means necessary for testing.

Persons experiencing coughing, sneezing or other symptoms of a respiratory illness, or persons subject to official isolation orders must not enter hospitals or care facilities in order to protect the other persons at these institutions.

Parties and meetings
Please refrain from organising any parties or meetings. Meetings in person are only allowed in very restricted surroundings and should be confined to meetings that are absolutely necessary.

Travel and accommodation
Please try to avoid all means of private travel and day trips. Accommodation for tourist purposes is prohibited in Hamburg and all around Germany.

Testing obligatory for persons entering from high-risk areas
Anyone entering from a high-risk area must undergo testing for COVID-19 immediately upon their arrival and put themselves in domestic isolation for 14 consecutive days. 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: http://t.hh.de/14234712 (German only).

Places of worship and commemoration
Worshiping services and other religious events may take place if the applicable contact restrictions and hygiene rules are complied with. Wearing a medical mask is mandatory in all closed rooms; singing in groups is prohibited. Events must be registered with the local authorities if a large number of attending persons can be expected.

Please note that only the German version of the regulations published in the Hamburg Law and Ordinance Gazette (available on the Internet at www.luewu.de) 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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