April 1 update – Berlin ends major restrictions
From Friday April 1, most corona measures will be dropped in Berlin, allowing the city greater freedoms than at any point since the start of the pandemic. So what are the rules as of April 1?
No mask while shopping
Berliners can once again breathe freely at the grocery store, as supermarkets will drop the mask requirement. However…
Masks remain on public transport & museums
The BVG, S-Bahn and Deutsche Bahn will continue to require passengers to wear a mask, so don’t bin that FFP2 too quickly. What’s more, a number of Berlin’s major cultural institutions will maintain their mask requirement. These include:
- Staatsoper Unter den Linden
- Deutsche Oper
- Komische Oper
- Deutsches Theater
- Berliner Ensemble
- Humboldt Forum
No 3G-rule at swimming pools
Berliner Bäder will drop its 3G rules at indoor swimming pools, but it will keep the system of limiting tickets and assigning time-slots. Tickets will also continue to be sold mainly through their online system.
Mask requirement and testing at medical facilities
A mask requirement and compulsory testing will remain for those attempting to access hospitals and nursing homes, as well as state facilities like prisons and community centres.
March 18 update – Berlin extends regulations till April 1
Initially, March 20 was planned for the end of all major restrictions, but Berlin has since decided to extend their special measure till April 1. After that date, the mask mandate in supermarkets will be dropped and the only measures remaining will be a requirement for masks in hospitals, trains and nursing homes.
But as things stand, the rules remain as explained in our March 4 update. 3G in restaurants, cafes and bars. Clubs can open under 2G+. See more below:
March 4 update – Clubs reopen, 3G rules in restaurants, bars, cafes
With infection rates dropping, Berlin will relax its Covid-19 restrictions from Friday March 4. The main changes, as announced last month, are as follows:
- Restaurants, cafes and bars – 3G rules apply. Those who are not vaccinated or recently recovered will need to show a negative test.
- Clubs can reopen – 2G+ rule apply. Everyone must be vaccinated or recovered and tested.
- Hotels, schools, driving schools, adult education centres – 3G rules apply.
- Hairdressers, beauty salons, massage services – 3G rules apply.
- Gyms, dance studios, indoor swimming pools, saunas – 3G rules apply
- Indoor events
Large indoor events – Up to 6,000 people at 60 percent capacity, 2G+ rules apply
Small indoor events – For events with between 11-2,000 participants, 3G rules apply
- Outdoor events
Large outdoor events – Up to 25,000 people at 75 percent capacity, 2G+ rules apply
Small outdoor events – For events with between 1001-2000 participants, 3G rules apply
- No contact restrictions for those vaccinated or recovered. If an unvaccinated person is present, it’s still the case that a household can only meet with up to two people from another household (children up to 14 are excluded).
- FFP2 masks – Still compulsory on public transport, at the airport, on railway platforms, when shopping, visiting museums, galleries and other enclosed public spaces.
February 17 update – Three-step plan to end restrictions
Germany is set to roll back most Covid-19 restrictions by March 20, as announced by Chancellor Scholz after talks with regional leaders. Falling infection rates and a reduction in hospitalisations suggest the Omicron wave has peaked.
A three-step plan to relax the rules has been laid out, with ‘freedom day’ set for March 20. Here’s a summary of the roadmap:
- 2G rules to end in all shops and museums – you’ll no longer have to show proof of vaccination or recovery to enter
- All contact restrictions dropped for the vaccinated and recovered – some restrictions remain in place for the unvaccinated for another month
FROM MARCH 4
- Restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels will become 3G – meaning those who are unvaccinated can enter with a negative test
- Clubs can reopen under 2G+ rules
- Indoor and outdoor event capacity to increase
FROM MARCH 20
- All major restrictions will end, including the work from home mandate
February 14 update – new PCR rules & 2G+ recap
Since February 12, new rules have been in place to help Berlin battle the Omicron variant of Covid-19. But, as it’s been a while since our last update, it might be best to clarify exactly what the rules are in Berlin right now. So, where do we stand?
2G, 2G+, and 3G
Let’s break this down, starting with the strictest rules.
The 2G plus regulation is widespread, currently covering restaurants, bars, cinemas, clubs, theatres and similar cultural venues
To enter a venue with 2G+ requirements, it is necessary to be vaccinated or recovered AND to provide a negative test, taken within the last 24 hours
However, you are exempt from the test requirement if:
- You are boosted
- You have recovered from Covid-19 in the last three months
- You received your last vaccination in the last three months
The 2G rule, meaning that you need to be vaccinated or recovered (but no booster/test is necessary) applies in:
- Body-related services like hairdressers and beauty salons
- Retails shops (but not essential services like supermarkets, which are open to all)
- Museums, galleries, libraries, hotels and other similar institutions
The 3G model, meaning that you can be vaccinated, recovered OR simply have a negative test, is also applicable in some areas.
- Public transport – for both short and long-distance journeys
- At work
- In official state buildings
- In education facilities
- At outdoor events with between 10-1000 people (though organisers can decide to implement more stringent measures)
Ok, now that’s out of the way, we can explain what has changed since February 12.
The main change is the tighter control of PCR tests. It will now only be possible to get a PCR test after receiving a confirmed positive rapid test at a certified testing station.
Other than that, the rule changes mainly affects large gatherings, both indoor and outdoor:
- Up to 4,000 people can now attend indoor events (2G+ rules would apply)
- Up to 10,000 people can now attend outdoor events (2G+ rules would apply)
So, that’s it! Look for further regulation changes below & let’s hope as we move towards the spring and summer that we can see a further relaxation of the rules.
February 1 update: PCR test no longer required, contact tracing scrapped
In response to the Omicron wave and increased strain on testing resources, the Berlin Senate has updated its Covid regulations again. The changes are expected to apply from Saturday, February 5.
- Contact tracing is to be scrapped for restaurants, bars, events and sports in Berlin.
- A PCR test is no longer required following a positive rapid (antigen) test result, except in the case of medical staff and those who work with vulnerable groups.
- A positive result from a home antigen test should be confirmed by a follow-up antigen test at a certified testing centre. Only if the results are contradictory is a PCR result advised.
- If you’ve recently had Covid, you’ll only be classified as recovered – or genesen – for 3 months after infection. This has dropped from 6 months, in line with guidance from the RKI.
In ‘2G+ test’ settings, you won’t need an additional test if you’re:
- Boosted – indefinitely
- newly vaccinated (including newly vaccinated people who previously recovered) – for three months
- newly recovered (including newly recovered who were previously vaccinated) – for three months
January 19 update: Johnson & Johnson vaccine downgraded
Since last Friday, people who received the Johnson & Johnson jab are no longer considered fully vaccinated, and will need another shot in order to be fully protected (and to access 2G spaces). In order to reach ‘boosted’ status, a further additional shot will be required.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, studies have shown low vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant, and that most breakthrough infections have occurred in Johnson & Johnson recipients.
January 17 update: New rules from Saturday 15 January
Test-free access to cafes, bars and restaurants is now only possible for people who’ve received their booster shot. These latest 2G+ rules were agreed upon by Germany’s regional leaders and new chancellor Olaf Scholz last week.
The changes also see the return of mandatory FFP2 masks in retail and on public transport, as well as a 2G+ regulations for restaurants, bars and cafés.
In another change, quarantine times have been reduced in line with other European countries. Those infected with Covid and their close contacts now only need to isolate for 10 days rather than 14. A negative test result after seven days allows quarantine to end even earlier for those without symptoms. In addition, people who’ve received their booster jab now no longer need to isolate if they come into contact with an infected person.
Here are the latest changes at a glance:
- FFP2 masks required on public transport
If you’re boosted:
- No tests needed for restaurants, cafes and bars
- No quarantine required for close contacts of Covid cases
If you’re double vaxxed:
- Negative test needed to enter restaurants, cafes and bars
- Quarantine reduced from 14 days to 10 days
December 28 update: measures against Omicron & New Years Eve restrictions
In order to combat the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, new coronavirus restrictions come into effect in Berlin today. The headline rule is applicable even to those who are already vaccinated or recovered: private gatherings of more than 10 people are now prohibited. This rule will continue until at least January 3. It is aimed at preventing large New Years Eve parties from furthering the spread of the virus. We already knew that the ban of fireworks would extend for another year, and that dancing indoors in clubs was not allowed, but a new rule from December 28 means that Berliners will now be forbidden from dancing outdoors too.
Sporting events, however, will not take place wholly without spectators. It was suggested that an outright ban might come into effect, but instead the maximum number of fans who are able to attend games has been reduced.
December 16 update: 2G+ tests no longer required after booster shot
In the latest effort to incentivise top-up vaccinations, people who have received their Covid-19 booster shots are no longer obliged to present a negative test when entering 2G+ venues. The test requirement will be dropped 15 days after the booster was administered. One exception remains: those entering care homes, hospitals and other medical facilities must show a negative test, boostered or not.
In another change, contact restrictions will now also apply to the fully vaccinated or recovered at private events. Up to 50 people will be allowed to gather at indoor private events, with up to 200 at outdoor private events. For private events also attended by unvaccinated people, stricter contact restrictions continue to apply. The new rules come into effect on Saturday.
December 2 update: 2G goes nationwide
The outgoing chancellor announced on December 2 that the 2G rules, already in place in Berlin for a couple of weeks, are set to be expanded nationwide. But that’s not all she said – here’s a quick update on the most important developments:
- A booster may become mandatory nine months after vaccination
Even if you’re double vaccinated, the protection won’t last forever. Talks are currently ongoing at an EU level about double vaccination losing its validity after nine months.
- Masks will be required in schools
- Restrictions on private meetings with the non-vaccinated
If one non-vaccinated person attends a private meeting, it can only include one household and two others (children up to 14 are exempt)
- Financial aid will be extended
- Maximum 15,000 fans in football stadiums
- Maximum 5,000 people indoors
- Last year’s NYE firework ban will be repeated
Hospitals don’t want to deal all those New Year’s Eve accidents when they’re already at capacity. No fireworks again!
- If the 7-day incidence climbs over 350 new infections per 100,000 people, clubs will have to close
Uh-oh. We’re already at 361.4 in Berlin.
Those are the main points… for our regular Berlin 2G, 3G explainer, read on below!
2G in Berlin: explained
As Covid cases rise rapidly across Berlin, the Senat has expanded its so-called ‘2G’ rules in order to curb infection rates. In some areas, even stricter ‘2G plus’ regulations are set to come into place. But what does all this mean? We outline the latest measures, including the new 3G requirement on Berlin’s public transport and in workplaces.
What are 2G, 2G plus and 3G?
- 2G: Proof of full vaccination or recovery is required. This will be expanded to include mandatory wearing of a mask in certain areas.
- 2G plus: Proof of vaccination or recovery is required PLUS a negative test. Both rapid tests and PCR tests are accepted. Children under 18 are exempt from 2G plus.
- 3G: Proof of full vaccination, recovery OR a negative test result is required. Rapid test and PCR test are both OK.
From Wednesday November 24, the ‘3G rule’ will apply across all public transport in Berlin (except taxis). Travellers on buses and trains must be able to provide proof of full vaccination, recovery or a negative test if asked. Random spot checks will be carried out. Workplaces must also implement 3G rules from today, with employers required to check vaccine passes, proof of recovery or test results from their staff.
From Saturday November 27, the 2G rule will be expanded across Berlin’s cultural, gastronomy and leisure sectors. These new ‘2G plus’ rules will see stricter mask wearing enforced, or, in some cases, the return of social distancing or an additional negative test requirement.
What is allowed and what is forbidden?
Since Monday November 15, people who visit restaurants, museums, theatres and other cultural institutions in Berlin have had to provide proof that they’re either fully vaccinated (geimpft) or recovered from the virus (genesen). But where exactly do these new regulations apply? Let’s break it down:
Where is 2G mandatory?
- In all non-essential shops (masks are also required from 27.11)
- Restaurants and other indoor gastronomy locations – mask required, no test for now
- Theatres, museums, concert halls and similar cultural institutions – mask required
- Hairdressers, cosmetic salons, sexual services – mask or a negative test are compulsory at the discretion of the service provider
- Indoor sports venues, gyms, dance studios – distance requirements or compulsory testing
- Hotels and holiday homes
- Indoor swimming pools
- Driving schools and similar institutions
- Adult education centres
- If possible, at Christmas markets
- In football stadiums, but from December 1
- Outdoor events with more than 2,000 attendees
- 2G rules also apply for private indoor events with more than 20 attendees
Where is 2G plus mandatory?
As yet, strict 2G plus rules (where vaccinated or recovered people need to also bring a negative test with them to access services) are rare. But here are some of the areas where extra caution may apply:
- Clubs and similar indoor dance venues will require a test and are limited to 50 percent capacity
What is exempt?
- Schools and universities aren’t covered
- The 2G regulations don’t apply to under-18s, who only need a negative test
- Churches were exempt, but have since decided to implement 2G for most services
What proof do I need to provide in Berlin?
From Monday November 15, the new 2G regulations include a provision that proof of vaccination or recovery must be digitally verifiable, either with an app such as the CovPass from the Robert Koch Institute, the Corona-Warn-App, or a printed QR code.
What about rapid tests?
In another change brought about to curb infection rates, Berlin residents are once more entitled to at least one free Covid-19 rapid test per week. According to a statement by the Berlin Senat on Saturday, these free tests can be taken at the twelve Senat-owned test centres, as well as at commercial test centres.