The country is battling to get a second coronavirus wave under control. Officials hope that stricter rules will bring infection rates and the death toll down.
Harder coronavirus lockdown restrictions came into force across all of Germany's 16 federal states on Monday. Ten states, including the most populous, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden Württemberg, introduced the new rules as of Monday.
A number of restrictions were introduced on December 16 in a bid to curb a second COVID-19 infection wave. These were originally slated to remain in place until at least January 10 but have had only a moderate impact on caseloads. Some of the measures that were already in place have been extended, while other restrictions have been tightened.
Health Minister Jens Spahn appealed to the public to stay the course.
"I know that these are once again particular difficulties, hardships for many," Spahn said on ZDF television. "Also social hardships, but at the moment that is the arena in which the virus is spreading above all others."
What are the new restrictions?
Private meetings will be limited to members of one household, plus one other person. Previously the limit was set at a maximum of five people from two households.
Anyone arriving in Germany from high-risk areas must submit two negative test results. A minimum five-day quarantine period is required between the two tests — even if the first is negative.
Parents receive an extra 10 days of leave to look after children. Single parents will receive an extra 20 days.
Residents in areas with a seven-day incidence of more than 200 cases per 100,000 people can be restricted from traveling more than 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from their home without a valid reason — although some states will enforce this rule on a discretionary basis, or merely advise people to abide by it.
What restrictions remain in place?
All shops and services deemed nonessential are closed.
Day care centers are closed, but parents can take paid holidays in order to look after their children.
Employers are encouraged to allow employees to work from home if possible.
People are not allowed to drink alcohol in public.