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What you need to know about the new Corona 'Emergency Brakes'

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

In the previous days you may have heard a lot about the 'Notbremse' which has been passed by the German Federal Government. Here is eveything we now know.

Why do we need these emergency brakes?

Over the previous weeks, the plan for a country- wide method for dealing with the pandemic has increasily gained attention. The government wanted to ammend Germany's Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz) in order to give the central German government more power in deciding which rules are implemented in the country. So far, each of Germany's 16 Federal States have been following various forms of action in tackling the pandemic within their own borders. Of course, some states are more affected than others, and this has led to much confusion. For example, people in Oldenburg follow the guidelines set out by the state government of Lower Saxony, but if you travel to Bremen or Hamburg, who are themselves seperate City States, some of those rules change. Therefore, the government wanted to introduce new laws in the form of an emergency brake, after which all states would adhere to the same measures.

On the 22.04.2021, the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) passed the newly amended Infection Protection Act, which had previously been passed by the Bundestag the day before. All six Ministers ( Ministerpräsidenten) who spoke during the debate raised serious corncerns over the legality and implementation of the newly formed laws, but admitted to recognizing the necessity of such laws in tackling the ongoing corona pandemic, and thus did not stop them.

What will change if they are introduced where I live?

Starting from Saturday, 24.04.2021, the emergency brake will be put in place if the number of reported new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a district or a city is over 100 for three consecutive days within a period of seven days. At the time of writing, Oldenburg's incidence rate is 131, so these measures will likely be introduced as of tomorrow (You can check the incidence rate in real time by clicking here). People will no longer be allowed to leave their own apartment after 10:00 p.m until 05:00am. Walking and jogging alone is allowed until midnight. Exceptions include medical emergencies, care of pets (like walking the dog) and professional reasons (for example going to work in a night shift, taxi drivers, etc). A maximum of one household may meet with one other person, with the exception of children up to 14 years of age. Shops are only allowed to open to customers who present a negative corona test not older than 24 hours obtained from one of the official testing stations (self-tests do not count) and have booked an appointment (Including hairdressers). That excludes markets, pharmacies and gas stations, which don't require a negative test, but still require the usage of medical or FFP-2 masks. In Buses or other public transport, the usage of a simple OP Mask will no longer suffice: a breathing mask of the FFP-2 or N95 standard will be required. Classroom teaching in schools will be stopped at an incidence rate of 165.

We will keep you updated on the development of these laws, and if you have any questions, we would be happy to answer them as best we can!

Information in English:

Information in German:,0,4281747947.html

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