The days are getting longer and many people feel the urge to get out of the domestic lockdown for a few days - walk along a beach, go skiing, visit friends and relatives. But would-be travellers would do well to wait just a bit longer; although travelling is not prohibited as a whole, a rise in mobility over the holidays could result in another increase in COVID-19 infections. As hard as it may be, it is still best to stay home whenever possible.
The current measures to contain the pandemic restrict travel in many ways, not only to contain the virus, but also to prevent its new more infectious variants from spreading. This is an overview.
Tourist accommodation in hotels, guest houses and private accommodation, as well as at camp sites and other locations is prohibited in Germany at least until 7 March 2021.
Private visits are largely limited due to the contact restrictions and distancing rules: in private as well as public spaces, persons belonging to the same household may meet only one other person.
Museums and other cultural institutions, restaurants, cafés, bars, and many other leisure facilities as well as retail shops remain closed.
Please note that booking cancellations may only be refundable if the transaction is restricted by an official order. Crises in certain destinations, and thus the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, may not be covered by travel cancellation insurance.
Travel in Europe
Almost all European countries, including Germany, are classified as high-risk areas. There are warnings against international travel by the Federal Foreign Office. Re-entry from abroad is subject to restrictions, such as isolation orders and a negative COVID-19 test.
In certain areas with a significant incidence of highly contagious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, tourist travel is prohibited altogether. This means that no tourists may be commercially transported into these areas by air, land or sea.
Many popular holiday destinations for tourists from Hamburg are affected by these restrictions, for example, Denmark, Italy, France and Austria. In Spain, tourism has not been prohibited yet, but an overall state of alert applies to the whole country, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, and bans on tourist travel may be implemented at short notice.
Testing and isolation orders
All travellers returning from high-risk areas must be registered digitally for their entry and tested without exception. It makes no difference whether you are entering by plane, train, bus or car. Testing costs are not covered by insurance. Testing may also take a considerable amount of time.
Travellers returning from high-risk areas must undergo domestic isolation immediately after entry for 14 consecutive days. The isolation period may only be shortened with testing both upon entry and 5 days after starting the isolation period; both tests must show negative results.
Germany is currently classified as a high-risk area. Travellers may have to undergo testing and isolation upon entering another country. This means that quarantine orders and isolation periods may apply both at the holiday destination and after returning home.
Any persons travelling to a high-risk area who cannot work from home while in isolation are not entitled to continued sick leave.
Almost all European countries, including Germany, are currently classified as one or more of the following areas:
- high-risk areas are places in which there are more than 50 newly registered infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of 7 consecutive days (Risikogebiet);
- places with more than 200 newly registered cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of 7 days may show further restrictions due to the particularly high incidence rate (Hochinzidenz-Gebiet);
- in addition, several places have been classified as areas in which significant rates of highly contagious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged (Virusvarianten-Gebiet).
European regions showing exceptionally high incidence rates (currently, for example, Poland and the Czech Republic) or significant incidences of the virus variants (currently, for example, Tyrol in Austria and Great Britain) may have further rules and restrictions on entry and departure.
Tourism from or to areas with significant incidents of the virus variants are currently prohibited.