September 30, 2020
In anticipation of cold and flu season, Germany strengthened regulations designed to reduce the spread of COVID.
The updated policies will be applicable across the country. As it has done since the crisis emerged in mid-March, the German government took a coordinated federal-state response to this effort.
- Fines for false information. Minimum fines of 50 euros will be levied against those who provide incorrect or false information on contact tracing forms in restaurants and other public establishments.
- Reduced participants for events. If local infection rates are too high, event participation limitations will take effect. Participants will be limited to a maximum of 50 people in public or rented rooms, and 25 people in private rooms. If rates worsen, local authorities will have license to further tighten restrictions.
- Option to restrict alcohol sales. If needed, states will be able to restrict alcohol sales to reduce the probability of gatherings taking place.
What’s not new?
- Distancing guidelines. A minimum of 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) is required in public spaces.
- Mandatory masks. Masks must be worn in public spaces, including shops and on public transportation. Violators can face fines of up to 50 euros.
- Local autonomy. Though the newly strengthened regulations apply across Germany, states can further tighten measures as needed.
Why these guidelines?
The primary goals, as stated in yesterday’s joint federal-state resolution, are:
- To reduce potential burdens on the health care system as cold and flu season approaches.
- To allow for targeted local responses to rising COVID incidence rates in order to avoid a total economic shutdown.
In large part, recent rises in COVID incidence rates have been tied to two activities: increased numbers of large private gatherings (weddings, parties, etc.) and people returning from vacations to high-risk areas.
Reasonable and responsible
Despite the measures, the German government also complemented citizens within the resolution, saying that a majority of people living within the country behave in a very reasonable and responsible fashion. Residents, including U.S. citizens, are asked to continue behaving in a way that supports efforts to contain the spread of COVID.
Where to find more information
For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation or German state policies. More information is available from Ramstein Air Base, USAG Bavaria, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz, USAG Stuttgart, and USAG Wiesbaden.