German Lockdown Rules Tightened and Extended Until Jan 31: Here’s What You Need to Know

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It’s official: after thorough deliberation today between German state leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany’s national lockdown measures have been tightened and extended until January 31st.

The news was confirmed at a press conference early this evening, with Merkel, Bavaria’s Minister-President Markus Söder and Berlin’s Governing Mayor, Michael Müller all in attendance.

You can watch the full press conference (in German) here, but below we’ll be summarizing the main points for you in English.

Germany’s Current Lockdown Will Be Extended Until Jan 31

The strict lockdown measures announced earlier in December will now be extended until the end of January.

As a reminder, this means the following:

  • All non-essential retail shops will remain closed
  • All schools and daycares will remain closed
  • Culture and leisure facilities will remain closed
  • All dine-in options will remain closed*, however food establishments may continue to offer takeaway/delivery
  • Drinking alcohol in public will continue to be prohibited

*While company canteens may still operate, it is said that they may now only (at most) offer take-away options

Contact Restrictions Are Getting Stricter

While the current rule is that a maximum of five people aged 14 and over from two households are allowed to meet, the limit on contact outside one’s household is set to get stricter.

Under new lockdown rules, private meetings will only be allowed within your own household and with a maximum of ONE other person outside your household.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

There will be a 15km radius movement restriction in hotspots

A new restriction is also set to apply in hotspots that have a seven-day incidence of over 200 (meaning more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a 7 day period).

In these areas, there will be a new movement restriction: one must stay within 15km of their place of residence, unless they have a valid reason.

NOTE: Travelling and day trips will not be considered valid reasons.

Testing will be mandatory for those returning from risk areas abroad

For travellers entering/returning to Germany, a “two test strategy” will apply.

Here’s how it works: when entering Germany (or within 48 hours before entering Germany), one must get tested and then quarantine for a ten day period upon arrival. This quarantine may be cut in half however (to only 5 days) if travellers take a second corona test at the 5 day mark with a negative result.

NOTE: This procedure has already been in place in Bavaria since late December.

Parents Will Receive More  “Kinderkrankengeld” (AKA Child Sickness Benefits)

Normally, each parent receives “Kinderkrankengeld” (child sickness benefits) for up to ten working days per year. For single parents, this is usually up to 20 days.

However, for 2021, the plan is to double this amount to 40 days (meaning 10 days more per parent, or 20 more for single parents).

What will happen next?

As with all national lockdown regulations so far, exact rules may vary state by state. The Bavarian cabinet is set to meet Wednesday, with the parliament convening on Friday, so more will be known about the exact measures in Bavaria soon.

As for next month, the current plan is for federal and state governments to reconvene on January 25th to discuss plans for February. More on this as it develops.

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