Heidelberg's main street (Hauptstrasse), which normally burstles with tourists and residents, looks deserted during the lockdown in March. Chancellor Merkel says a second lockdown in the country must be prevented at all costs/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: New Laws and Regulations in October 2020

Some new laws and regulations enter into effect in October. As the number of coronavirus infections is significantly rising again, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the Länder (federal states) have agreed on new measures to contain the pandemic while subsidy for dental prostheses will be increased. Moreover, the second instalment of the child bonus will be paid in October and the clock will be reset to winter time.

Here are the most important legal changes:


Stricter corona containment rules

As the number of coronavirus infections is rising again significantly, the Federal Government and the Länder (Federal States) have agreed on new measures to contain the virus (Corona-Regeln).

Chancellor Merkel stressed that the adopted approach would now allow the authorities to “act regionally, specifically and in a targeted manner”, adding that “A shutdown for the whole country must be prevented at all costs.”

The decisions made at the virtual cabinet meeting on Wednesday at a glance:

  • The number of guests at parties in public and rented premises will be limited to 50 people in the districts where more than 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants occur every seven days. Above the threshold of 50, the limit is reduced to 25 persons. There is no mandatory restriction for celebrations in private premises. However,  a limitation of party guests is “urgently recommended” – namely, for a seven-day incidence over 35 to a maximum of 25 participants. And if the seven-day incidence is over 50, there should only be ten participants. Merkel stressed that these are recommendations and that there should be no controls in private premises.
  • Many people have not taken the corona visitors’ lists (Corona-Besucherlisten) in restaurants and bars very seriously so far, the government noted. Henceforth, anyone who gives false personal details in bars or restaurants must pay a minimum fine of 50 euros. Operators are required to check whether the information provided is plausible. The data is important because it is collected to track possible contacts with infected persons. Incorrect data is not a “trivial offence”, Merkel explained.
  • Where the number of infections is rising, “temporary bans on the sale of alcohol” are to be introduced to limit infection in the catering trade.
  • In view of the continuing high number of coronavirus infections, there will be no further relaxation of lockdown measures for now.
  • Call for increased ventilation: Especially in the cold season, two additional letters are to be added to the prescribed “AHA” formula for keeping social distance, hygiene and wearing masks. The letters are “C” as in corona warning app and “L” (for Lüften) as in ventilation. This is one of the “cheapest and most effective measures” in the fight against the virus, Merkel said. The virus does not forgive negligence.
The Corona-Warn-App helps to determine whether we have had any contact with an infected person which could result in a risk of catching the virus. This way, the chains of infection can be disrupted more quickly. The app is a service offered by the Federal Government, which is appealing to the public to voluntarily download and use of the app. It is available as a free download in the App Store and from Google Play/Photo: Bundesregierung


Travel warnings automatically apply to corona high-risk areas

The classification of a country or region as a corona high-risk area automatically results in a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office from October onwards. This is provided for in the new regulations for travel warnings and travel advice, which the cabinet adopted on Wednesday. From 1 October, all countries will have a uniform system of travel warnings and advisories based on the Covid-19 risks.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) will define the international high-risk areas after having qualitatively assessed the infection figures and published them in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

The Federal Government and the States also appeal to citizens to refrain from travelling to high-risk areas. A new quarantine regulation is to apply to returnees from these countries from mid-October. Details still have to be determined.

On Tuesday alone, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded 2,089 new infections. This means that more than 287,000 corona infections have been registered since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been 9,471 deaths in connection with the virus.

Don’t forget to reset your watch and clock on Sunday, 25 October / Photo: © The African Courier


Clock turned back to winter time

In the night from Saturday, 24 October 2020 to Sunday, 25 October 2020, clocks in Germany will be reset to winter time – or more precisely to normal Central European Time (CET). The hand of the clock will therefore be reset to 2.00 am at 3.00 am.

Fixed subsidy for dental prostheses increased

Going to the dentist can be an expensive undertaking and even carefully managed bonus booklets documenting annual check-ups at the dentist makes little difference. The health insurance only covers part of the treatment costs, with the fixed subsidy (Festzuschuss zum Zahnersatz) based on the average cost of standard care.

From October onwards, the annual check-ups are to pay off more. The fixed subsidy will be increased. Those who can prove to have had regular check-ups for five years in their bonus booklet will in future receive 70 percent fixed subsidy for dental prostheses instead of 60 percent, and for ten years 75 percent instead of 65 percent. But beware: the current year does not count. For those who did not take the regular check-up very seriously, the subsidy will be limited to 60 percent.

Second payment of the child bonus is due

The child bonus (Kinderbonus) of 300 euros per child is one of the measures within the Corona economic stimulus package. Payment of the first instalment of 200 euros began in September while the remaining 100 euros will be paid out in October.

The exact date of payment of the child bonus depends on the final digit of the individual child benefit number.

The exact payment dates of the child bonus are:

  • 7 October for the final digit 0
  • 8 October for the final digit 1
  • 9 October for the final digit 2
  • 12 October for the final digit 3
  • 14 October for the final digit 4
  • 15 October for the final digit 5
  • 16 October for the final digit 6
  • 19 October for the final digit 7
  • 21 October for the final digit 8
  • 22 October for the final digit 9

Femi Awoniyi/African Courier Media

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