Do you know what Basic Protection and Hotspot Control are? Germany’s new Infection Protection Act

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The old world is back! Not so fast! With the new Infection Protection Act in Germany, there are no longer any protective measures prescribed nationwide, except the mask requirement in long-distance public transport and the airspace. With the so-called Basic Protection and Hotspot control regulation, German federal states can introduce stricter Corona measures themselves. Find out more.

Basic Protection and Hotspot Control – What is it? Most corona protective measures are no longer in force in Germany. The resulting new Infection Protection regulation provides basic protection, especially for risk groups. In addition, stricter measures are possible in regions with a dangerous infection rate. Find out more below.

Basic Protection and Hotspot Control

Basic Protection and Hotspot Control Summary

  • With the new Infection Protection Act, the previously prescribed protective measures at the federal level are no longer applicable, i.e. the mask requirement in long-distance public transport and airspace.
  • However, the federal states can introduce strict measures for regions with a high incidence of infection – the so-called hotspot regulation.
  • In addition, the federal states can decide on basic protection – for example, an extended mask requirement – to protect people at increased risk.

Basic protection: The obligation to wear masks, for example in hospitals or care facilities remains in place. The obligation to wear masks in local public transport and the obligation to carry out tests in schools are still possible. The regulation in the respective federal state is decisive. In the air and long-distance passenger transport, the mask requirement remains in place nationwide.

Hotspot control: More stricter, locally limited regulations will apply if the infection situation requires it on-site and the respective state parliament decides so. Although the new Infection Protection Act eliminates the previously prescribed protective measures at the federal level, the federal states can introduce strict measures for regions with a high incidence of infection – the so-called hotspot regulation. Not overburdening the healthcare system remains an important goal.

What is the basic protection?

Basic Protection and Hotspot Control

To continue to protect people at increased risk, the federal states can decide on basic protection. This includes an extended mask requirement in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities, communal accommodation, and local public transport (ÖPNV). The federal states can also specify tests in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and day-care centers.

What is the hotspot control policy?

Basic Protection and Hotspot Control

If there is a risk of the healthcare system being overloaded in a region or in a federal state, the federal states can reintroduce more extensive protective measures in the fixed hotspot. In a hotspot, a stricter mask requirement can then be decided, distance requirements and access restrictions can be reintroduced.
 

An area becomes a hotspot when:

  • the spread of a virus variant is detected that leads to more severe courses than is currently the case with Omicron.
  • In hospitals, interventions are postponed due to a high incidence of infection, patients are transferred or have to be signed off from emergency care.

These hotspot regulations are planned in the German federal states:

Hotspot planned

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the entire federal state is considered a hotspot until April 27th. This was decided by the state parliament with the votes of the coalition factions of the SPD and the left as well as the Greens. Specifically, the distance requirement, the mask requirement in indoor areas, and the test requirement for unvaccinated people in hotels and restaurants remain in place.

In Hamburg, the red-green coalition is also planning to declare the entire city a hotspot and thus make it compulsory to wear masks indoors, including in retail, for an initial period of four weeks. The citizenship should decide on a corresponding application from the SPD and the Greens next week. The CDU and the left are also in favor of maintaining the mask requirement.

In Bavaria and Brandenburg, the governments want to discuss on Tuesday how the Corona rules will continue beyond April 2nd. The Bavarian state government has already requested clarification from the federal government to be able to apply the hotspot regulation with legal certainty if necessary.

From Hesse, it is said that the requirements for identifying hotspots are so high that, according to the state government, they come to nothing. The current situation does not indicate a legally secure regulation.

Also in Rhineland-Palatinate and Schleswig-Holstein consultations are still pending. The Kiel government also wants to consider a renewed hearing of its own expert council. In Thuringia, the red-red-green minority government would like to extend the measures.

In Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, the state parliaments have already rejected requests to declare the entire state a hotspot. The green-black coalition in Stuttgart considers the end of the measures to be a mistake. However, the Greens and CDU no longer see any legal basis for a nationwide extension of the mask requirement and access restrictions. 

The government in Lower Saxony argues similarly. “As soon as we see an opportunity to create a legally secure hotspot regulation in Lower Saxony, we will present it to the state parliament,” said Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD). However, we do not currently see this opportunity. 

In Saxony-Anhalt, which was ruled in black, red, and yellow the CDU and FDP reject an extension of the corona measures. 

In Saxony, the government has agreed that basic protection measures should remain in effect from the beginning of April. 

In BerlinBremen, and Saarland, too, people are preparing for the end of most protective measures – also because there are currently hardly any possibilities for hotspot regulation, as a government spokesman in Saarbrücken said.

How are German federal states implementing the Basic Protection and Hotspot Control regulations?

1. Baden-Württemberg

New Corona regulation from April 3, 2022

Since April 3, 2022, a new Corona regulation has applied in Baden-Württemberg. This means that far-reaching protective measures are no longer required, for which there is no longer a legal basis due to the new Federal Infection Protection Act. The mask requirement in local transport and in the medical area remains in place.

2. Bavaria

Bavaria implements basic corona protection measures

Since April 3rd, a new 16th Bavarian Infection Protection Measures Ordinance came into force, which exhausts the framework of the basic protection measures still granted by the federal government:

  • In facilities that look after vulnerable groups of people, FFP2 masks are still mandatory and visitors and employees need a daily rapid test to gain access.
  • An FFP2 mask requirement also applies to local public transport.
  • Tests will continue to be carried out regularly and to the same extent as before in school and daycare. For the time after the Easter holidays, the Council of Ministers will decide in good time. In cases of infection in a class or group, there is still an increased testing regime.
  • Otherwise, general protection and hygiene measures are still recommended on a voluntary basis, in particular maintaining the minimum distance, wearing medical face masks indoors and voluntary hygiene concepts (especially visitor management, disinfection).

3. Berlin

These Corona rules have been in effect since April 1, 2022:

Mask requirement

FFP2 mask without valve applies in:

– Bus, underground, S-Bahn, tram and on ferries,

– Medical practices for patients and visitors,

– Hospitals for visitors and patients who are not in their room or have visitors.

In these cases, children and young people aged 6 and under 14 must wear a medical face mask.

Medical face mask (surgical mask or FFP2 mask without valve) applies in:

– Care facilities for visitors and for residents who are not in their room or at their fixed seat during meals. Masks are not compulsory outdoors.

– medical practices for staff,

– in local public transport for the staff.

The mask requirement does not apply to children up to the age of six, to people who cannot wear appropriate protection due to a medically certified health restriction, to deaf and hard of hearing people.

events and culture

Cultural, sporting or leisure events are permitted without restrictions . There is no general mask requirement, but there are exceptions . In certain museums and at some cultural events , those responsible have decided to continue the mask requirement. Please inquire about the exact regulations before your visit.

4. Brandenburg

Since April 3rd, most of the Corona rules no longer apply In Brandenburg

Masks: The 3G rule in restaurants, theaters and cinemas is no longer applicable, as is the 2G rule in discotheques and the upper limit at major events. In addition, masks no longer have to be worn in schools and in retail.

The obligation to cover the mouth and nose with an FFP2 mask, on the other hand, will remain in place until at least April 30 for journeys on public buses and trains and for visiting hospitals, nursing homes, homeless and refugee accommodation. Anyone who works there must wear the FFP2 mask for body-related activities, otherwise a surgical mask. Patients in clinics and medical practices or residents must wear at least one surgical mask.

5. Bremen

Since April 2nd, fewer tests, fewer masks and hardly any G-rules with the  new basic corona rules being implemented 

In which areas do the G-Rules still apply?

After April 2nd, only people who are vaccinated, recovered or tested will have access to medical practices, hospitals, care facilities and similar facilities. The same applies to correctional facilities, detention centers pending deportation, correctional facilities and other departments or facilities if and to the extent that deprivation of liberty is placed there on a permanent basis. Psychiatric hospitals, youth welfare homes or homes for the elderly are particularly affected, said Diana Schlee, spokeswoman for the health department.

Can a supermarket, doctor’s office or catering establishment still insist on compliance with the G-rule?

Yes, because both gastronomy and retail or medical practices can make use of their domiciliary rights and take their own protective measures. These include the G access restrictions, distance rules or a mask requirement.

6. Hamburg

Hardly any rules in everyday life

There is “virtually no more restrictions” in the everyday lives of citizens. Exceptions are tests where there are many vulnerable people and masks, for example in public transport, in carehomes or in hospitals

Additional rules are possible in hotspots. The second pillar is a hotspot regulation: additional measures could be taken in areas with difficult outbreaks, such as when the health system is overloaded or dangerous new virus variants. 

7. Hesse

On Saturday, April 2, 2022, new corona rules came into force in Hesse. On the basis of the Federal Infection Protection Act, the previous measures such as access restrictions, the FFP2 mask requirement in retail or capacity limits have largely expired. Hotspot regulations are currently not legally enforceable in Hesse. 

8. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

State government decides to largely lift 3G rule

In its meeting on April 12, 2022, the state cabinet agreed on the elimination of all 3G requirements with the exception of the arrival test in the accommodation industry. However, the mask requirement and distance regulations in indoor areas remain in place. In addition, a 2G Plus option model for dance events will be introduced. The correspondingly amended Corona State Ordinance will come into force on April 14th.

9. Lower Saxony

The mask requirement will only apply in hospitals, care facilities, homes, medical practices and in local public transport. The obligation to test is also eliminated in many areas. It will then only apply in hospitals, nursing homes, homes, schools and prisons.

Corona rules from April 3rd
Mask requirementin hospitals, retirement homes and in public transport
testing obligationin hospitals, retirement homes, schools, correctional facilities

10. Nordrhein-Westfalen

Elimination of access restrictions in retail

The access restrictions of the 2G rule do not apply to shops and markets. This means that it is no longer necessary to check a test or proof of immunization and non-immunized persons are also allowed to enter. In addition to the obligation to wear a medical mask, wearing a specific FFP2 mask in commercial stores is strongly recommended. This recommendation also applies to local and long-distance public transport vehicles.

Lifting of contact restrictions for immunized people

For people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered, there are no contact restrictions at private gatherings. For non-immunized people, the contact restrictions will continue to apply until March 19th. You are still only allowed to meet with members of your own household and a maximum of two people from another household. This limitation also applies to meetings between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Easing of access regulations from 2G to 3G or elimination of 3G

The use of body-related services and visits to tanning salons is now possible not only for fully immunized people but also for unvaccinated people on presentation of a valid negative test certificate (3G rule). When using and providing body-related services, non-immunized persons are obliged to wear a mask of the FFP2 standard.

11. Rhineland-Palatinate

Mask requirement in the medical field, in care facilities and in public transport remains – but initially no hotspot regulation

In Rhineland-Palatinate there will be no hotspot regulation. This was decided by the Rhineland-Palatinate Council of Ministers. The background is the change in the Infection Protection Act decided by the Federal Cabinet. After that, most mandatory corona rules will no longer apply. However, there are still the basic protective measures such as the obligation to wear masks in hospitals, in doctor’s offices, in care facilities or in public transport.

12. Saarland

The FFP2 mask requirement was removed

The mask requirement in retail remains is still in place, but medical surgical masks are also sufficient. The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask, which was only recently introduced, is no longer applicable. However, the state government recommends continuing to wear FFP2 masks.

13. Saxony

Saxony is following the federal trend with the reduction of the previous restrictions to basic protection. This means that the obligation to wear an FFP2 mask only applies in the healthcare sector, in the nursing sector and in local public transport.

In addition, the basic protection measures continue to provide for a facility-related obligation to test employees and visitors as a prerequisite for access. Affected are: care facilities, hospices, workshops for disabled people, hospitals, facilities for the collective accommodation of asylum seekers, refugees, etc. and prisons, deportation, correctional facilities, etc. Vaccinated or recovered employers and employees of the above-mentioned facilities must be at least twice a calendar week present a current test certificate. In inpatient care facilities, day care and outpatient care services, a daily updated test certificate must be submitted for this group of people at least three times a week.

Wearing a mask (preferably FFP2) is also strongly recommended in publicly accessible indoor spaces, as is compliance with the minimum distance and hygiene rules. Contacts should continue to be limited to what is necessary.

14. Saxony-Anhalt

Most of the Corona rules  were abolished in Saxony-Anhalt on April 3rd. Instead, only a series of so-called basic protective measures apply. The state government decided that.

Basic protection includes the obligation to wear masks in local public transport and in facilities such as medical practices, hospitals, day clinics, care facilities and homeless shelters. The mask requirement only applies there in closed rooms. The obligation to wear mouth and nose protection applies to patients, visitors and passengers. The new Corona regulation should apply until April 30th.

Retail: Wearing a mask is no longer required

In shops it is “recommended” to continue to wear medical mouth and nose protection and to observe minimum distances. However, it is no longer necessary to wear a mask when shopping. The state is thus adopting the requirements of the Federal Infection Protection Act. Owners can now decide for themselves whether masks are compulsory in their shops and demand them from customers by domiciliary rights.

15. Schleswig-Holstein

Almost no corona restrictions apply in Schleswig-Holstein. The mask requirement remains in force for the time being.

Schleswig-Holstein is taking the next step towards normality. In view of the current infection situation with predominantly mild courses, the state is continuing to pursue the phased plan.

16. Thuringia

Thuringia has lifted almost all corona rules – masks are no longer compulsory in many areas

“Basic protection measures” continue to apply in schools and kindergartens. Distance learning should also be possible in the future if the infection process requires it. Masks must be worn on school buses, and schools are still tested twice a week, it said. 


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