Last Friday, Germany’s Robert Koch Institut (RKI) recorded a nationwide 7-day incidence of 29.7 infections per 100,000 residents, marking the first time the incidence rate has dropped below 30 since mid-October of 2020. Additionally, 41% of Germans have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 15% are fully inoculated.
Due to the falling and stabilising incidence figures and increasing number of vaccinated people, German states have slowly begun to loosen restrictions by opening up their catering, hospitality and tourism sectors to locals and domestic tourists, just in time for the summer holidays. According to German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, it should be possible for Germans to travel abroad using Germany’s version of the EU Digital Covid Certificate by the end of June.
Nevertheless, for international tourists, Germany still has many travel restrictions in place. Entry rules vary based on where you are travelling from and the reason for your journey. Since the 13th of May, all passengers arriving from ‘risk’, ‘high incidence’ or ‘virus variant’ areas, such as the UK, must register their arrival in Germany before travelling.
Arrivals entering the country from ‘risk’ or ‘non-risk’ areas, need to provide either proof of a negative Covid-19 test no older than 48 hours or provide proof of immunity. These arrival documents also allow the passenger to avoid Germany’s 10-day quarantine obligation.
If you are arriving from a ‘virus variant’ or ‘high incidence’ area, you must provide a recent negative Covid test and undergo a mandatory quarantine for 10 days (high incidence area) or 14 days (virus variant area) on arrival, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or recovered. There is a general travel ban on entry from these areas, with the exception of German residents.
New restrictions could be put in place on short notice by the authorities based on, for example, the spread of new variants or a large surge in cases in a particular area. You can find the regularly updated RKI list on the classification of risk areas here.
Although the situation regarding the pandemic is improving in Germany, if you are visiting the country, you should make yourself aware of strict coronavirus measures, which are still in place in all 16 states. For example, many tourist attractions that have reopened still require all visitors to wear an FFP2 mask. Furthermore, many recently opened cultural institutions and restaurants often require a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination certificate upon entry. Shops usually require you to check-in via the Luca-App or through a paper contact tracing register.
Currently, due to the UK’s reclassification as a ‘virus variant’ area in accordance with the RKI, only German citizens, people with German residence permits, or people with exceptional humanitarian needs can enter the country, meaning it may still be some time until UK residents are allowed to travel to Germany again for tourism purposes.