Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on August 26.
(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Germany, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic
Germany is operating one of Europe’s most stringent border policies, as it attempts to lessen the impact of the Delta variant while rapidly vaccinating its population.
What’s on offer
Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt have long been cultural big hitters. But there’s more to Germany than its superb cities, from hiking in Bavaria to wild forests on the French border and a hugely underrated coastline in the north. Throw in excellent public transport and road links and this is a country ripe for those keen on a long, free-form vacation.
Who can go
In principle, residents of EU member states and the Schengen-associated states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may enter Germany without restrictions — although if they become classed as high risk, or having a variant of concern, restrictions apply. Currently, arrivals from certain areas of France are classed as high risk.
What are the restrictions?
Travel for EU and Schengen-related residents is unrestricted — though you must use your EU Digital Certificate to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test.
If you have been in a country designated to have a high level of risk within the past 10 days, you must provide a negative test result, and you must travel directly to your destination and quarantine there for 10 days. Those from a high-risk area may end quarantine early if they test negative after five days. The quarantine requirement is waived upon proof of vaccination or recovery.
If you have been in an “area of variant of concern,” there is a ban on entering via rail, ship, plane or bus. Essentially, you must drive, and then quarantine for 14 days.
As of August 26, there are no areas of variant of concern — Brazil and Uruguay have been demoted to “high risk.”
There are 73 high-risk areas including the UK, US, Spain (apart from four regions), Israel, Argentina and India, as of August 26. Several areas of France are on the list: Occitanie, Corsica, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, plus overseas territories. Crete and the Southern Aegean have been added for Greece; and Ireland (the border and west of the country) was added August 22. Turkey was added August 17. Portugal as a whole has been removed from the high-risk list but Lisbon and the Algarve remain.
If not vaccinated, only those traveling for essential reasons can enter. Unvaccinated children under 12 can enter if traveling with a vaccinated parent.
What’s the Covid situation?
Germany is beginning to cautiously reopen after a number of strict lockdowns since March 2020. Following spikes in winter and spring, it has seen case numbers drop dramatically as it ramps up its vaccination program. However, it has major concerns about the Delta variant, which has resulted in the federal government clamping down on travel from the UK and Portugal (the latter has now been removed from the high-risk list). So far, it has seen 92,090 deaths and more than 3.9 million cases as of August 26. Most of the infections are concentrated in the west and south of the country.
What can visitors expect
if it’s below that rate, then there’s no longer a cap on the number of households. Restaurants can also serve food indoors if the incidence rating is under 100.
Meanwhile in Hamburg, you must leave your details for contact tracing on entering a shop, and restaurants may serve groups of maximum five. In any kind of vacation accommodation in Hamburg, guests must test negative before entering, and test again every 72 hours.
Across the country, medical-grade FFP2 masks, not surgical masks or face coverings, are a legal requirement in shops and on public transit.