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Factsheet for measure DE-2021-48/2043 Updated – measures in Germany

German Infection Protection Act


Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 24 November 2021 – 07 April 2023
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Sandra Vogel and Marc Breitenbroich (IW)
Measure added 12 October 2021 (updated 07 July 2023)

Background information

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Federal Government declared an epidemic situation of national importance in March 2020, which provided the legal framework for the Federal Government and Federal States to implement COVID-19 related restrictions. Throughout the course of the pandemic the epidemic situation of national importance was extended multiple times. The epidemic situation of national importance ended on 24 November 2021. However, as a consequence adaptions were made to the German Infection Protection Act which provide the legal framework for COVID-19 related restrictions since 24 November 2021. In this way, Federal States are still able to introduce COVID-19 related restrictions when necessary.

Content of measure

The German Infection Protection Act stipulates that all employees and employers have to be either fully vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative (3G rule) when entering the work premises. Evidence of either one, has to be provided to the employer. Negative tests have to be checked by the employer daily.

The obligation to work from home, when possible, was reintroduced.

Additional testing is required by employees and employers as well as visitors of nursing homes, rehabilitation centres and facilities of integration support – this also includes fully vaccinated and recovered people.

3G rules apply to public transport and aviation (pupils are exempted). This includes travellers as well as personnel.

When necessary, Federal states are allowed to make additional rules regarding social distancing in public places as well as in private places, mask wearing, obligations for hygiene concepts or participation restrictions for events, free-time activities (such as using fitness studios, joining singing or music classes etc.), additional requirements for schools, universities and educational facilities. However, curfews, precautionary and comprehensive closures of schools, children nursing facilities, gastronomy or retail are not possible anymore.

Hospitals receive a treatment bonus for patients infected with COVID-19 for the timeframe between 1 November 2021 and 19 March 2022. Additionally, therapists receive a hygiene grant of €1.50 per prescription. Further protection requirements and grants were determined for care facilities such as the reimbursement of pandemic related additional costs.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

08 April 2023

Starting 8 April 2023, the legal framework for COVID-19 protection measures according to the Infection Protection Act §28b has expired.

13 January 2023

At the beginning of February 2023, the obligation to were FFP2 masks in long-distance public transport was lifted as the overall health situation has stabilised.

08 September 2022

The German government decided on new measures against the COVID-19 pandemic which will apply from 1 of October 2022 to 7 April 2023. The new rules are based on two pillars:

In the first pillar, federal level basic protective measures include an FFP2 mask obligation in long-distance public transport (medical masks for 6–14-year-olds and staff), in practices of medical doctors, and in practices of all healthcare professionals. Further measures include a mask and test verification obligation for access to hospitals and care facilities as well as for employees in outpatient care services and comparable service providers during their work.

In the second pillar, the 16 German states can react to pandemic developments in a graduated manner according to the severity of the situation.

The first stage of these measures includes a mask requirement in local public transport and the obligation to wear masks in publicly accessible indoor areas. A mandatory exception is to be provided for people who have proof of a negative test for leisure, cultural or sporting events, in leisure and cultural facilities as well as in gastronomic facilities and when practicing sports. Countries can also allow exceptions for those who have recovered (proof of recovery: the previous 90-day period applies) or who are fully vaccinated and whose last vaccination was no more than three months ago. Irrespective of this, organisers can continue to exercise their domiciliary rights and impose their own admission rules. In addition, masks may be made compulsory in schools and other training institutions for employees and schoolchildren from the fifth school year if this is necessary to maintain regular face-to-face teaching. Finally, the obligation to test in certain community facilities (e.g. facilities for housing asylum seekers, detention facilities, children's homes) as well as schools and day-care facilities may be foreseen.

The second stage of these measures, if a COVID-19 wave continues to build up and a state parliament or a specific local authority determines a concrete danger to the functionality of the health system or other critical infrastructures the following measures can be ordered: The obligation to wear masks at outdoor events if a minimum distance of 1.5 m cannot be maintained, mandatory hygiene concepts for companies, facilities, trade, and events from the leisure, cultural and sports sectors for publicly accessible indoor spaces in which several people are present, the arrangement of a minimum distance of 1.5 metres in public spaces, and the determination of upper limits for people for events in publicly accessible interiors.

19 March 2022

In Spring 2022, the German federal government adopted new changes to the German Infection protection Act. The states (Länder) were allowed to maintain their regulations until April 2nd 2022. Starting from the 3 April, the states can decide on follow-up regulations according to the new rules of the adapted German Infection Protection Act. The new rules are based on two pillars:

  • Basic protection aims primarily to protect vulnerable groups. This includes mask requirements in care facilities, hospitals and other health care facilities, in certain communal accommodations and in local public transport, testing obligations in care facilities, hospitals, schools and day-care centers and other facilities.
  • Mask requirements remain nationwide in air and long-distance passenger transport.
  • In hotspots, i.e. in regions with a threatening infection situation, additional protective measures such as mask requirements, distance requirements, proof requirements or hygiene requirements can be ordered. Hotspot rules can be adopted if there is a risk of hospital capacity being overloaded.

The protective measures will expire on the 23 September 2022 but can possibly be adjusted again until then and then extended. In addition, the terms of vaccination, convalescence and test evidence are legally defined with the law. The travel entry regulation expired on the 28 April 2022.

Use of measure

Currently, there is no information available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Local / regional government
Public support service providers

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners contributed position papers on the amendments of the German Infections Acts before the new rules came into force (as part of the parliamentary debate on the new rules).

Views and reactions

The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) welcomed that infection protection measures were continued under the umbreall under the German Infection Protection Act (as the epidemic situation of national importance was ended). The Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) criticised that not enough time was alloted to debate all necessary measures substantially. The employer organisation also highlighted that employers needed sound legal basis if they were asked to check employees' vaccination or test status.



Eurofound (2021), German Infection Protection Act, measure DE-2021-48/2043 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.