Information in English
Current coronavirus regulations (as of 5 April 2021)
Private gatherings (indoors and in public)
In most regions of Lower Saxony, the number of people newly infected with the coronavirus within the last 7 days is more than 100 per 100,000.
Districts and independent cities with an incidence rate of over 100 are called high-incidence municipalities. The 1-plus-1 rule then applies in these municipalities. This means that members of one household are allowed to meet with one person from another household. Younger children up to and including the age of six (0–6 years) belonging to the household are not counted.
Where the incidence rate is between 35 and 100, the rule is that one household may meet with a maximum of two persons from another household. In this case, children up to the age of 14 (0–14) belonging to the household are not counted.
This applies equally to public space and to private dwellings or property.
In regions with low incidence rates below 35, a higher number of contacts is possible. In this case, gatherings of three households with a maximum of 10 persons may be allowed (10-from-3 rule), with children (0–14 years) belonging to those households again not counted.
With regard to incidence rates above 35, the contact restrictions depend on the incidence rate in the district or independent city where the meeting is intended to take place.
Gatherings of 10 persons from three households are only permitted, even in regions with an incidence rate of less than 35, if the district or the independent city has expressly approved this in agreement with the State Health Office. Furthermore, all persons attending such a gathering must be from a district with an incidence rate below 35.
Local incidence rates and the latest regulations concerning them can be found under the following links:
- Current situation in Lower Saxony
- Incidence map
- Overview of the regulations in districts and independent cities
Important: the incidence rates published by the state of Lower Saxony are decisive and not the figures from the RKI.
Counties and independent cities with an incidence rate of between 100 and 150 may impose curfews for part of their area or the entire area. Citizens are thus prohibited from leaving their private dwellings between 21:00 hrs and 05:00 hrs the following day. This does not apply in the case of valid reasons for being outdoors, such as doctor's appointments or going to work. The municipalities are free to define the exceptions.
As from an incidence of 150, such curfews should be imposed if the infection incidence in the area concerned cannot or can no longer be sufficiently allocated to a specific, spatially delimitable area and there is therefore a risk of the coronavirus spreading uncontrollably.
With regard to sports, too, it is unfortunately still necessary to differentiate according to the local infection rate:
- Incidence below 35 (municipality has allowed the 10-from-3 rule)
In this case, exercise is permitted on and in sports facilities with a total of ten persons at most from a total of three households at most.
In these constellations, the practice of sports with physical contact (e.g. judo or karate) and without physical contact (e.g. athletics, tennis, golf or gymnastics) is permitted. Classic team sports such as football, handball or basketball are also possible in the form of "individual training". However, keeping a distance reduces the risk of infection and outdoor sports are safer than indoor sports.
Children under the age of 14 (belonging to the three households) are not included in the maximum number.
- Incidence below 100 (35 to 100)
In this case, exercise is permitted on and in sports facilities for one household with two persons at most from another household. In these constellations, the practice of sports with physical contact (e.g. judo or karate) and without physical contact (e.g. athletics, tennis, golf or gymnastics) is permitted. Classic team sports such as football, handball or basketball are also possible in the form of "individual training". However, keeping a distance reduces the risk of infection and outdoor sports are safer than indoor sports.
Children under the age of 14 (belonging to the two households) are not included in the maximum number.
- Incidence over 100 (high-incidence municipality)
In this case (as up to 7 March 2021), the practice of individual sports is permitted subject to absolute compliance with certain conditions. Individual sports are those sports that can be practised alone or in pairs, and without direct physical contact. These are sports that are not usually practised in teams.
The following therefore applies in high-incidence municipalities: individual sports with one other person at most or only with the members of one's own household.
- Children and youths – up to an incidence of 100 (unfortunately therefore not in high-incidence municipalities)
Children and teenagers up to and including the age of 14 may practise contact sports outdoors in a fixed group of up to 20 children and teenagers plus two supervisors.
Children up to the age of 14 (or up to the age of 6 in high-incidence municipalities) may of course play football or other sports with other children in the park or in the garden at home.
Additional mask requirements:
In view of the risk of highly contagious virus mutations, medical masks – which offer a greater degree of protection – are more suitable than cloth and other non-medical masks.
The term "medical masks" as defined in the Corona Ordinance means, above all, surgical masks, but also protective masks of the FFP2 category and masks of at least an equivalent standard (KN95/N95).
Protective masks with exhalation valves are not permitted. They only protect the wearer but not the people nearby.
In Lower Saxony, the obligation to wear a medical mask applies in particular in the following places/situations:
- in the businesses which are currently open, including: grocery stores, weekly markets, beverage stores, pick-up and delivery services, health food stores, pharmacies, medical supplies shops and drugstores, opticians and audiologists, banks, post offices etc.,
- on public transport, i.e. on public transport vehicles (buses, trains, taxis, ferries) as well as at stations, stops and in the waiting areas,
- whenever activities or services require the distance to be less than 1.5 m. This applies in particular to health care, nursing care and close contact services, as well as to doctor’s surgeries,
- at religious services and other religious events in churches, synagogues, mosques and other enclosed premises, and also at gatherings of other faith and belief communities.
The obligation to wear medical masks in the above-mentioned places does not apply to children between their 6th and 15th birthday. A simple mouth and nose covering suffices for them.
Children up to the age of 6 are generally exempt from the obligation to wear a mouth and nose covering.
Regardless of the regional incidence rate, bookshops and libraries have been permitted to open since 8 March, and sampling and fitting appointments (e.g. for house and flat building or making wedding dresses) in businesses and institutions of all kinds are possible by appointment.
In regions with an incidence below 100, retail shops may be opened by means of so-called appointment shopping (“click & meet"). This allows for advice on and the sale of any goods on business premises by prior appointment and in compliance with social distancing, whereby only one customer and one accompanying person are permitted on the business premises for every 40 square metres of sales area.
Wherever the incidence rate is above 100, appointment shopping is regrettably not possible.
The following establishments and facilities are open regardless of the incidence rate:
- grocery stores
- weekly markets, direct sale of agricultural products, farm shops with regard to the sale of foodstuffs,
- beverage stores, pick-up and delivery services,
- health food stores, specialist baby shops,
- pharmacies, medical supplies shops and drugstores,
- opticians and audiologists,
- petrol stations and car wash stations,
- motor vehicle or bicycle repair shops and repair shops for electronic devices,
- post offices or agencies,
- dry cleaners and launderettes,
- pet supply shops and feedstuff shops,
- wholesale and DIY stores, but for commercial customers only,
- fuel and heating fuel dealers,
- mail-order businesses,
- and points of sale of passenger transport tickets
In the leisure sector, libraries may open regardless of the regional incidence rate of infection, as may zoos, animal parks and botanical gardens.
Operations must be safeguarded as usual by adherence to a hygiene concept. The hygiene concept must include measures to regulate and limit the number of people. In all districts and cities where the incidence rate is above 100, the opening of museums, exhibitions and galleries is regrettably not possible. Such establishments may only open – with a hygiene concept – if the incidence rate is below 100.
Even in high-incidence municipalities (incidence over 100), close contact services such as beauty salons or tattoo parlours may open. If wearing a medical mask throughout the service is not possible (e.g. beauty treatment, shaving), a test must be carried out beforehand. This can be a PCR test or also a self-test.
You can find out which self-tests have been approved by going to the website of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices:
Ideally, the service enterprise will facilitate on-site testing for you. In the case of a self-test to enable you to receive a service, it is important to note that you may not take it at home, but only before entering the service facility in the presence of a person from that business.
Entry from a risk area
Whoever enters the Federal Republic of Germany from a risk area must in future prove that they are not infected with the coronavirus no later than 48 hours after entering the country.
Persons entering from particularly severely affected regions must present a negative test result before entering the country. This applies to entry from a risk area with a particularly high incidence of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (high-incidence area) as well as to entry from a risk area in which certain variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have widely occurred (virus variant area).
The fourteen-day quarantine obligation on entry from risk areas which was imposed by the Federal States (including Lower Saxony) continues to apply.
Here you can find a list of the various risk areas: