DEC 13 UPDATE: Further lockdown restrictions have just been announced, effective Dec 16, 2020. Click here for a summary.
Lockdown “light” is no more and Bavaria is back in Katastrophenfall. But what does this mean exactly and how will it impact our day to day lives?
Since we’ve had some trouble understanding the many rules and exceptions out there (especially when plenty of German jargon is involved!), we decided to put together a clear list of rules for you here in English.
You can read the official regulations as listed in the “Tenth Bavarian Infection Protection Measures Ordinance (10th BayIfSMV)” in German here, but below we have summarized the most important takeaways in a clear and concise way. We hope you find it helpful!
At the timing of writing (Dec 9), the following restrictions and rules will be in place in Bavaria from December 9th, 2020 until January 5th, 2021:
Distancing & Mask Requirements
You’re likely already familiar with the distancing and mask requirements that will continue under these new restrictions, namely that:
- Physical contact with others should be kept to a minimum, and groups of contact should be kept as consistent as possible
- Wherever possible, a minimum distance of 1.5m between two people must be maintained
- A mouth/nose cover must be worn in instances where this minimum 1.5m distance cannot be kept
- Children up until their 6th birthday may be exempt from the mandatory mouth/nose cover, as well as those who cannot wear masks for medical/health reasons, and those who must briefly take off their masks for identification, speaking to those with hearing impairments or “other compelling reasons”
General Exit Restrictions
Under the new restrictions, leaving one’s home is now only permitted for valid reasons including:
- Professional/official activities (i.e. going to work)
- The use of medical, nursing and veterinary care services
- Shopping and purchasing supplies
- Visiting another household, so long as a total of 5 people is not exceeded (this total does not count children under the age of 14). This includes of course visiting life partners, family, etc.
- Open air sports and exercise ONLY if alone, with members of one’s household or maximum one other household (to a maximum of 5 people)
- Participating in funerals with one’s immediate family circle
- Administrative procedures
- Participation in church services and religious meetings
Exceptions for the Christmas Period
For those wondering about Christmas time gatherings, yes the restrictions will be eased slightly and the one household cap will be removed from the period of December 23rd to December 26th, 2020.
During this period, friends and family may meet with up to 10 people with no limit to the number of households.
Another big update in terms of restrictions is in regards to alcohol.
Say goodbye to wintery walks ft. glühwein-to-go, because the open-air consumption of alcohol is now prohibited in the city center and other public places. The exact places however are to be decided by individual “district administrative authorities”. We will update this when we find out more.
In addition to that, the sale of alcoholic beverages through sales points and delivery services is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Most Public Events are Banned
Unsurprisingly, most public events are banned nationwide, with the notable exception of:
- Religious services
- Open air protests that are approved by local authorities
Those participating in these events are subject to specific rules which you can read in full here, including mask requirements, minimum distance between observers, maximum participant caps, and more.
Stricter Regulations for Hospital/Care Home Visits
The rules surrounding visiting loved ones who are in the hospital, in care homes, at retirement facilities, etc. are a bit confusing as hygiene concepts are developed by the facilities themselves.
You can click here to read the full list of rules, but the main takeaway from these new regulations seems to be that “Each resident may be visited by a maximum of one person per day who has a written or electronic negative test result for an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and who must prove this upon request”.
NOTE: We would strongly recommend double checking rules with the facility you intend to visit as hygiene concepts/rules may differ from facility to facility.
Sports and Leisure
Individual sports will be allowed, however (non-professional) team sports will not. The operation and use of sports halls, sports fields, fitness studios, dance schools and other sports facilities is also prohibited.
NOTE: Professional athletes may continue to train and compete so long as there are no spectators and access to the facility is limited to only those training/competing, as well as media.
Leisure and Entertainment Facilities
During this period, leisure activities may not be offered commercially whether outdoors or in closed rooms.
This therefore means the the following are prohibited:
- Amusement parks
- City mountain, culture and nature tours
- Tours in show caves and visitor mines
- Leisure/tourist cable cars, river and lake navigation
- Tourist trains and river cruises
- Bathing establishments
- Hotel swimming pools
- Thermal baths and wellness centers
- Amusement arcades
- Casinos and betting shops
- Clubs and discos
- Brothels and prostitution facilities
**A notable exception is open-air playgrounds (which are allowed so long as kids are accompanied by an adult and sufficient distance is kept by all children and adults).
The following cultural sites will also be closed:
- Museums, exhibitions, memorials
- All sites part of the the Bavarian Administration of State Palaces
- Theaters, operas, concert halls
- Zoological and botanical gardens
- Libraries and archives (although academic libraries may open so long as 1.5m distance may be maintained)
Shopping & Retail Stores
Retail stores may still open under the following conditions:
- Measures are taken to ensure that 1.5m distance between customers is maintained
- The number of customers in the shop is controlled based on the size of the shop
- Masks are worn by all staff and customers (with the exception of when staff are protected by other means i.e. a protective wall)
Not much is changing on the gastronomy front, but just to refresh your memory, at the moment food establishments may only operate if they are offering take-out/delivery OR if they are a company canteen.
Accommodation and Overnight Stays
At the moment, accommodation offers by establishments like hotels, hostels, campsites, etc. are NOT possible for tourist purposes, and only possible under extenuating circumstances like important business or professional travel.
Even when allowed to host guests, there will be significant restrictions in place for those offering accommodation. You can review the full rules here.
Schools & Daycares
Generally speaking, individual schooling facilities and daycares are in charge of developing their own hygiene concepts so it’s important you check with the specific institutions relevant to your case in order to get the most up-to-date and accurate information.
However, here are some general must-knows according to the full rules listed here:
- Lessons and other school events as well as lunchtime supervision may continue so long as there is an adequate hygiene concept in place
- Masks are compulsory on school premises, and students refusing to comply may be removed from the school premises
Other Types of Education
In-person adult education is currently prohibited, however there are certain exceptions. In cases where minimum distance can be maintained (and masks when needed), the following can still be permitted:
- Vocational training
- First aid courses
- Training of volunteer members of the fire brigade, rescue service and technical aid organization
- Lessons at music schools (NOTE: A minimum 2m distance for wind instruments and singing applies).
- Theoretical driving school lessons, follow-up training, aptitude seminars and theoretical driving tests
There may be no face-to-face events at universities, however the following activities are said to be permitted so long as distance can be maintained:
- Certain types of practical and artistic training
- Special laboratory work
IMPORTANT: Further Restrictions Dependent on Case Numbers
As part of the restrictions in Bavaria, there are also further rules that will apply to “hotspots” where cases exceed a certain number.
If local authorities announce that there are over 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a 7 day period, the following changes will apply the next day:
- A curfew from 9 pm to 5 am, during which you are prohibited from staying outside of your own home, unless in extenuating cases such as:
- Medical/veterinary emergencies
- Professional, official or training activities that cannot be postponed
- Exercising custody/access rights
- Urgent care for those in need
- Participation in religious services and gatherings of religious communities in the period from December 24th to 26th, 2020
- OR other “weighty and irrefutable reasons”
- Markets for the sale of goods will be prohibited (an exception being the sale of food in the context of weekly markets that regularly take place)
- Face to face lessons at music schools and driving schools will be prohibited
- “At all schools according to Section 18, Paragraph 1, Clause 1, from grade eight (with the exception of the last grade and the schools for special needs education), no classroom teaching takes place”
NOTE: The official regulations written here state that district authorities should take action as necessary should cases increase or decrease significantly. This means that while the current rules are slated to be in place until January 5, the rules may change again before then, depending on how cases develop.