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What Covid rules are still in place in Germany from February?

With fewer and fewer Covid-19 cases hitting Germany’s intensive care units, many federal states have – or plan to – get rid of most identifiable Covid rules. Here’s what’s still on the books.

Public transport Stuttgart FFP2 mask
A passenger on public transport in Stuttgart holds an FFP2 mask. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Rettig

Germany dropped its requirement to wear an FFP2 or KN95 surgical mask on long-distance trains on Thursday, with many federal states also getting rid of mandatory masks on public transport the same day.

The federal government still requires people to wear FFP2 masks in hospitals and care facilities and requires negative Covid-19 tests for arrivals from China. Otherwise, most Covid rules in Germany have been left up to the 16 federal states, potentially leading to a confusing patchwork of rules. Here’s a rundown of what’s in place throughout the country. 


The southwest German state has gotten rid of essentially all its Covid rules as of January 31st. There is no requirement to wear a mask on public transport or in doctor’s offices. There is also no requirement to isolate for someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The requirement to wear masks in hospitals and care facilities remains though, as it’s a federal law.


Bavaria has ended both its obligation to isolate if someone tests positive for Covid-19 and its FFP2 mask requirement on public transport. People are still required to wear an FFP2 mask in most cases where they interact with the health system, including doctor’s offices.

People wear masks on the S-Bahn in Frankfurt.

People wear masks on the S-Bahn in Frankfurt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert


The capital has ended its requirement for FFP2 masks on public transport.

Isolation requirements remain in place for someone testing positive for Covid-19. They can exit quarantine after five days, with or without a negative test, provided they’ve been without symptoms for at least 48 hours.

The requirement to wear an FFP2 remains in place for doctor’s offices and other health facilities.


The state surrounding Berlin has lifted FFP2 requirements for public transport but kept a slightly stricter regime than its neighbour. People working in or visiting hospitals, homeless shelters, or refugee centres must test negative for Covid before entering, and must wear an FFP2 mask. The isolation requirement remains on the books. A mask requirement remains in effect for doctor’s offices.


The city-state has lifted all state-level corona regulations as of Thursday, including masking and isolation requirements. People in Bremen must still comply with the federal requirement to mask in hospitals and long-term care facilities.


People in Hamburg no longer have to wear a mask on public transport. They also might not have to isolate if they test positive for Covid-19 – in this case, you only need to isolate if you feel unwell. If you have no symptoms, you don’t have to isolate. If you visit a doctor’s office though, you need to wear a mask. If visiting a hospital or care facility, you must first test negative for Covid-19.


There is no longer either a mask requirement for public transport or an isolation requirement in Hesse. However, someone testing positive for Covid-19 is required to keep an FFP2 mask on if they leave the house and is not allowed to visit a hospital or care facility until their infection clears. People must also test negative before entering such a facility.

Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania

The seaside state has lifted its masking requirement on public transport but it remains on the books in doctor’s offices. Isolation requirements also remain in place.

READ ALSO: Is the pandemic over in Germany?

Lower Saxony

Together with Bremen, Lower Saxony lifted its mask requirement for public transport this week and it no longer remains in the books. Just about everything else does that was in place before does though, including isolation requirements and masking requirements for doctor’s offices.

North Rhine-Westphalia

As of February 1st, you don’t have to wear a mask on public transport in Germany’s most populous state – or isolate at home if you’ve tested positive for Covid-19. If you test positive, you can’t go into a hospital or care facility until at least five days later. You also need to wear a mask at the doctor’s office.

Rhineland Palatinate

The requirement to wear a mask on public transport in the Rhineland also lifts Thursday. Isolation requirements are also gone but anyone testing positive is required to wear a mask in public spaces such as grocery stores. Someone out for a walk by themselves outside doesn’t have to wear one, even if they’ve tested positive. Masks remain required in medical spaces, such as doctor’s offices and people visiting hospitals or care facilities must have a negative Covid-19 test.


Germany’s small southwestern state has lifted its masking requirement for public transport and in crowded spaces such as homeless shelters or refugee centres. The isolation requirement remains in place, as well as masks in doctor’s offices and other medical spaces.


Saxony is getting rid of almost all of its Covid-19 regulations on Friday. Both masking and isolation requirements will go. The one exception is that masks will still be required when someone comes in contact with the health system, such as in a doctor’s office.


Saxony-Anhalt was one of the first federal states to drop its masking and isolation rules. The last of its state rules were lifted in January. The federal masking requirement for hospitals and care facilities remains in effect there though.

A sign with the inscription "Ride only allowed with mouth-nose covering! Protect yourself and others!" is stuck to the train door of a Deutsche Bahn train at Nuremberg main station.

A sign with the inscription “Ride only allowed with mouth-nose covering! Protect yourself and others!” is stuck to the train door of a Deutsche Bahn train at Nuremberg main station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann


Germany’s northern state, surrounding Hamburg, has more or less lifted its Covid-19 rules. Federal rules about wearing a mask in hospitals and care facilities are still in effect, with only a few exceptions.


Starting Friday, there is no requirement to either wear a mask on public transport or isolate in Thuringia if you’ve tested positive for Covid-19. If you are positive, you’re required to wear a mask when outside your home.

Federal regulations, which govern mask wearing in hospitals and care facilities, are scheduled to remain in place until at least April 7th.

READ ALSO: Free Covid-19 tests end in Germany

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Germany peels away most of remaining Covid-19 measures

Three years after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany, the country repealed most of the protective measures on Wednesday. Here's which measures still remain.

Germany peels away most of remaining Covid-19 measures

As of Wednesday, the Germany-wide requirement to take a Covid-19 test to enter healthcare facilities was repealed. 

The FFP2 mask requirement for employees working in doctor’s offices, clinics and care facilities – as well as for nursing home residents – was also lifted.

However, the rule still applies to patients in doctor’s offices and clinics, in addition to nursing home visitors, until April 7th, said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Wednesday. 

“Anyone who visits patients or nursing home residents, or who attends doctor’s appointments, will still have to wear a mask,” Lauterbach said. “That should be worth it to us to protect vulnerable groups.” 

This also includes visitors to dialysis facilities, day clinics and the ER, he said. 

“We support the discontinuation of the measures in Germany,” Christine Vogler, President of the German Nursing Council, told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe on Wednesday.

“The people who work in the health sector in Germany are competent enough to deal with the situation.”

READ ALSO: Most Germany-wide Covid measures to expire on March 1st

‘Situation has stabilised’

Lauterbach justified the relaxation of rules – which had originally been planned for April 7th – by stating that “the coronavirus situation in Germany has stabilised”

He encouraged people to continue wearing masks voluntarily “on the basis of personal responsibility”, adding that “the virus should not be trivialised” and warning of potential longer-term health impacts.

Several factors have contributed to the measures being repealed, Lauterbach said, including a higher level of immunity in the public and a reduced chance of new mutations, which means a spring resurgence of the coronavirus is unlikely.

Germany has been progressively repealing coronavirus protection measures. On February 2nd, it dropped a nationwide requirement to wear a face mask on buses and trains, after several states had already let go of the rule. 

On April 7th, the last of Germany’s nationwide coronavirus measures will expire, “and then an extension is no longer planned,” said Lauterbach.  

The first cases of Covid-19 were reported in January 2020 in Germany, with a wide-scale outbreak in March 2020, leading to the closure of public life and strict rules on gatherings, face masks, testing and quarantine.

By March 1st, Germany had reported 38,168,933 coronavirus cases, and a total of 168,129 people who died with or from the virus, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 


care homes – Pflegeheim

repealed – aufgehoben

vulnerable groups – (die) Risikogruppen

discontinuation – (der) Wegfall

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.