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Germany relaxes quarantine restrictions on EU travellers

Germany is planning to loosen restrictions for travellers from the EU, the Schengen passport-free zone and the UK, the Interior Ministry announced. A quarantine period will only be advised for those coming from places with high rates of coronavirus infection. Details on how to regulate this still need to be worked out, but until then an imposed quarantine will only be for travellers outside of the EU bloc.

The German Interior Ministry says it will start to lift all border restrictions with its neighbours: France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Austria, from June 15th. The borders will relax in a varying timetable over a month from May 15th. The easing of restrictions depends on how infection rates pan out in Germany, and the health outlook in each country. The border controls between Luxembourg will be “scrapped completely” on May 15th German papers report. The same may apply to Denmark, with a decision expected soon. The bilateral deals will make summer holidays abroad possible, Germany’s tourism commissioner Thomas Bareiss told Der Tagesspiegel last week. Hotels, restaurants, bars and museums are due to open soon, following on from department stores and many other businesses on May 1. 

For now, tourism is no go. Compulsory 14-day self-isolation applies to all travelers arriving from abroad, including Germans and permanent residents. European transit passengers, as well as seasonal and health workers and others who are exempt from EU travel restrictions, dodge quarantine.

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“EU citizens as well as people from the U.K., Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their families are also allowed to travel through Germany to reach their home country if no other travel connection is possible,” says the German Federal Foreign Office. Until the temporary border controls between neighbors come down between now and mid-June, those with non-urgent reasons to travel may be refused entry. Bilateral even trilateral travel arrangements between neighbors are set to open up Germany to some European travelers by mid-June or earlier.

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