Addendum: All measures limited until 10 January 2021, which are based on joint decisions, will be extended by the federal states until 31 January 2021 in the corresponding state ordinances. More on this shortly.
Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, 16 December 2020, public life in Germany will be reduced to a minimum for at least three and a half weeks to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Yesterday (Monday) the Senate passed the ordinance to revise Berlin’s regulations for protection against infections with the highly contagious virus. The state of Berlin is thus implementing the results of the Minister Presidents’ Conference with the Chancellor last Sunday and adapting them to the infection situation in Berlin. There are also drastic changes for art galleries, which were still allowed to open in their capacity as retailers during the partial lockdown, but now also have to close. Due to the public holidays that fall during this period, various special regulations and tightenings apply.
To the Infection Protection Ordinance previously in force in Berlin, the new ordinance receives these essential changes:
- Leaving one’s own home or usual accommodation is only permitted for valid reasons, for example for shopping, for the exercise of professional, mandate-related, honorary or other activities, for visiting the doctor, for attending official or court appointments, for individual quiet contemplation in churches, mosques, synagogues and houses of other religious and ideological communities as well as for attending religious services, for visiting spouses or life partners and for exercising custody or access rights in the respective private sphere, to care for and look after animals, to cultivate horticultural or agricultural land, to attend and conduct events, meetings, visits or private gatherings permitted under this Ordinance, or to go to schools as well as institutions for care, assistance for the disabled and child care for the purpose of making use of the care services offered there or to accompany or pick up people who are being cared for there.
- Sporting activities are only permitted alone or with another person without contact and in compliance with the distance regulations.
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages in outdoor public spaces is prohibited.
- For the period from 24 December to the end of 26 December 2020, private events are only permitted in the company of spouses or partners, members of one’s own household or with members of up to four other households, with an upper limit of five persons present at the same time and not counting their children up to the age of 14, or with up to four relatives in a straight line not belonging to one’s own household, siblings and their household members as well as their children up to the age of 14.
- The day and overnight services of the homeless assistance remain open for the basic care of the persons concerned.
- Public schools and independent schools, including second-chance educational institutions and extra-curricular and supplementary support and care facilities, may not be operated on a regular basis.
- The same applies to adult education centres and other institutions of general adult education, music schools, youth art schools, youth traffic schools, gardening schools as well as independent institutions within the meaning of the School Act and similar educational institutions for minors.
- Primary schools may provide emergency care especially for children of parents whose professional activities are necessary for the maintenance of public life, as well as for single parents. The Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family decides on the selection of facilities and those entitled to use emergency care.
- There is no regular operation of day care services for children. Parents whose children are cared for in day care facilities are requested to organise care elsewhere as far as possible and to only make use of day care facilities in cases of absolute necessity in order to reduce contacts in this area as well. The Senate Department responsible for Youth and Family Affairs may determine further details in cases where the deployment of specialist staff in the facilities is restricted due to the infection situation, in order to nevertheless be able to provide the scope of care in compliance with the hygiene requirements under the Child Day Care Promotion Act. Emergency care can be provided.
- Sales outlets as defined by the Berlin Shop Opening Act may not be opened. Exempt from the ban are retail outlets for food and beverages, tobacco products, stationery, newspapers, magazines, books and pet supplies, pharmacies, establishments for the purchase of medical supplies as well as hearing and visual aids and outlets for the exclusive purchase of Christmas trees, drugstores, health food shops, petrol stations, pick-up and delivery services, weekly markets with restriction to the assortments permitted for retail, commercial craftsmen’s supplies, bicycle and car repair shops and wholesalers.
- The sale of fireworks and other pyrotechnic objects is prohibited.
- Christmas markets, fairs, art and second-hand markets (flea markets), special markets and public festivals are prohibited.
- On 31 December 2020 between 2 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day, the serving, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
- For the period from 31 December 2020 up to and including 1 January 2021, the presence and use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic objects on public streets, squares and in green spaces is prohibited. The Senate Department for the Interior and Sport will designate these places in agreement with the Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality. The designation shall be announced in the Official Gazette for Berlin and may also provide for exceptions for the professional use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic objects. Passing through the named places is not considered a stay. The prohibition of residence does not apply in emergency cases of emergency or special need.
- In the period from 31 December 2020 up to and including 1 January 2021, assemblies within the meaning of Article 8 of the Basic Law and Article 26 of the Constitution of Berlin are prohibited.
The Ordinance will come into force on 16 December 2020 and will initially apply until the end of 10 January 2021.
You can find the complete ordinance with all paragraphs and further information at:
Please note that there may be errors of understanding or similar due to the translation we have made. We strongly recommend consulting the translation provided by the Berlin Senate in case of possible irritations (see link).
Image caption: Franka Hörnschemeyer, 2001, at the Paul-Löbe-Haus, Berlin, Photo: Stephanie Schneider