Guidelines for a uniform approach to restrict social contacts in the public sphere in Germany

Yesterday (22 March) the Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the German federal states (Länder) agreed on additional guidelines for a uniform approach to restrict social contacts in the public sphere in Germany in order to prevent an uncontrolled increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and to keep the healthcare system functioning. The measures foreseen in these conclusions are set out below and will be implemented by the Länder. A German language version of the conclusions is available online at:

  • Citizens are encouraged to reduce contacts with people who do not belong to their own households to an absolutely necessary minimum.
  • In public, everyone shall, wherever possible, keep a minimum distance of at least 1.5 m from other than the above-mentioned (supra, I.).

III. Spending time in public space is only permitted alone, with another person who does not live in the person’s household or with members of the person’s own household.

  • Commuting to work, the way to emergency care, shopping, visiting a doctor, participating in meetings, necessary appointments and exams, help for other, or individual sports as well as promenading and other necessary activities will remain possible.
  • Groups of people partying in public places, in apartments and private establishments are unacceptable given the serious situation in our country. Violations of the contact restrictions will be monitored and sanctioned by law enforcement authorities if necessary.
  • Restaurants shall be closed. This does not apply to delivery services and take-away for consumption at home.

VII. Service companies in the field of personal care such as hairdressers, cosmetic studios, massage clinics, tattoo studios and similar companies are closed because physical proximity is inherent in this area. Medically necessary treatments remain possible.

VIII. In all companies and especially those open to the public, it is important to comply with the hygiene regulations and to implement effective protective measures for employees and visitors.

  • These measures should be in force for at least two weeks.

The federal government and the Länder governments will work closely together to implement these restrictions and assess their effectiveness. Further regulations based on regional features or epidemiological situations in the Länder or in specific counties are possible.

The federal government and Länder governments are aware that these are very drastic measures. But they are necessary and they are proportionate to the health of the population with regard to the legal property to be protected.

The Chancellor and the heads of government of the Länder thank in particular the employees in the health system, in the civil service and in the sectors that keep up daily life, as well as all citizens for their sense of responsibility and willingness to abide by these rules to further slow the spread of the corona virus.