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Germany rolls back some COVID lockdown restrictions

March 8, 2021

Germany has begun step two of easing the general lockdown, which is set to last until March 28. For the first time in over two months, people will be allowed to experience certain "normal" things again.

A shop employee wearing a face mask holds a box of clothes
Some shops in Germany will be allowed to reopen as the country lifts some measuresImage: Matthias Bein/dpa/picture alliance

In most German states, some coronavirus restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic are being lifted from Monday.

The restrictions have been in place from mid-December 2020.

Here's an overview of the biggest changes that people in Germany will see:

Contact restrictions

In many places, people from one household can meet with another household in private. But the maximum number of people cannot exceed five adults plus children.


Lifting retail restrictions is contingent on the seven-day incidence rate. This metric measures the number of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period.

Retailers can arrange shopping appointments with a limited number of customers, if the incidence number is 100 or less.

Stores are allowed to open for a limited number of customers, if the seven-day incidence is less than 50.

Bookshops, flower shops and garden centers are reopening in most regions, unless they were already open.


Similar rules also apply to museums and art galleries. In most states they will be allowed to open under certain conditions or by appointment.

In some states, the regional seven-day incidence remains the benchmark.

It could be a while before the cultural institutions reopen as they need time to implement coronavirus safety guidelines first.


Hairdressers and barbers have already been open since March 1. But from Monday, cosmetics, nail bars, massage or tattoo studios can also reopen under strict conditions.

A coronavirus test must be taken if it's not possible to wear a face mask throughout the treatment.


Up to 10 people can participate in non-contact outdoor sports if the incidence rate is below 50. A maximum of five people from two households can do sports outside up to a seven-day incidence rate of 100.

Children up to the age of 14 can play sports outside in groups of up to 20.

Germany: Ice swimming against pandemic blues

COVID tests

Germany's federal government is now financing at least one free rapid coronavirus test per week for every citizen.

States are responsible for providing the tests. These will not be available everywhere from Monday.

Self-tests have been available to buy in some stores since Saturday.

Coronavirus in Germany

The country's body for infectious disease control, the Robert Koch Institute, on Monday reported 5,011 new daily COVID-19 cases. That is around 280 more than the previous Monday.

The nationwide seven-day incidence has increased from 66 to 68.

The number of reported cases is generally lower on Mondays than on other days of the week, as some testing centers do not report cases during the weekend.

The lifting of restrictions on Monday are part of a five-part plan for relaxing the lockdown. Further steps will be taken every 14 days if regional infection numbers are stable or reduced.

kmm/rt (dpa, Reuters)