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German Laws: Travel and cross-border employment regulations from 15th June, 2020 (Part 2)

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    Trip cancellation insurance (Reiserücktrittskostenversicherung)

    Trip cancellation insurance generally does not apply in the event of a crisis in the destination country. It only includes cases where you yourself get sick or can't travel due to unavoidable incidents, such as the death of a loved one, unemployment, short-time job change. Pre-conditions such as damage, illness and death are not covered by insurance.

    Regulations on international transportation  

    Border control between Germany and France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy as well as Spain will enter into force until June 15, 2020.

    Cross-border traffic is allowed to reopen. In the future, there will be no regular but random check or when problems arise. At the border between Austria and Switzerland, people who want to visit relatives or essential family events are allowed to cross the border from May 16, 2020.

    From May 15, 2020, at the border with Luxembourg, there are no fixed points placed to check the border, but measures to check the border area within 30 km are strengthened. For German tourists, they are allowed to enter Denmark from June 15, 2020 along with certain conditions. If the Covid-19 situation grows better, the Federal Interior Minister will abolish all border control measures by June 15, 2020. For borders outside the EU, the European Commission has proposed restricting entry from third countries until June 15, 2020.

    Issues about travel restrictions, quarantine measures and border control related to the Covid-19 epidemic can be found via websites BMI - Bevölkerungsschutz - Coronavirus (Questions and Responses of the Ministry of Interior Federal Service) or Bundespolizei - Aktuelles - Corona-Virus (Federal Police Website).

    Regulations on seasonal workers, harvesting crops from neighboring countries

    In order to ensure a good harvest in Germany, the Federal Government has introduced an exception allowing entry of seasonal workers into Germany, even during the pandemic. In April and May, up to 40,000 seasonal workers were allowed to enter Germany, provided that strict hygiene and epidemic prevention regulations and infection chain control are observed. The exception was supposed to expire at the end of May, but the Federal Government decided to extend it until June 15, 2020. Health, work and infection prevention regulations remain for a total of 80,000 seasonal workers.

    harvesting crops in epidemic crisis in Germany

    Workers need to wear masks and keep their distance from each other during harvesting crops in epidemic crisis

    Regulations on entry to Germany

    Anyone entering Germany from EU countries, the Schengen area and the UK is only required to be quarantined if they come from a country with a high infection rate. In the future, the 14-day quarantine rule may only apply to people entering from third countries. Air and marine passengers are responsible for providing their identity, travel itinerary and contact data. Public officials must collect them and turn them over to authorities. That's done with the Tracking Tag and it’s used to test the infection chain when necessary.

    Regulations on expired Schengen visa

    On April 9, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs (BMI) issued a directive that holders of a Schengen visa whose stay has expired are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a residence permit.

    According to the regulation, BMI takes care of the holders of an expired Schengen visa who are temporarily unable to leave Germany and return home due to international traffic restrictions. The above regulation is intended to prevent the holders from being fined for overstaying in Germany without a permit. Those who stay are allowed to work after the Schengen visa expires. The regulation takes effect from April 10, 2020 and will be extended until June 30, 2020, which applies to foreigners on March 17, 2020 with a Schengen visa who are staying in Germany or entering Germany after March 17, 2020 but before April 10, 2020.

    Regulations on the cross-border employment

    Cross-border traffic for people who are cross-border workers (Pendler) is still guaranteed to be the same as for cross-border goods transport. Pendler needs to bring his employer's documents, especially Pendler's labor confirmation slip (die Pendlerbescheinigung).

    There are no entry restrictions for medical and nursing staff from other EU countries such as people from Poland, who do household chores in Germany. When going to work, you need to bring certificates of Arbeitsvertrag employment contract, Auftragsunterlagen power of attorney or cross-border travel card.

    Regulations on preventing epidemics when using public transport

    In all states, people are required to wear masks when using public transport or shopping.

    The most important thing is to keep your distance. You must maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m in public places. Following hygiene regulations such as: wash hands frequently and thoroughly, coughs and sneezes must be covered with hands or a tissue and avoid touching your mouth, eyes, nose.

    Current German rail transportation

    During the Covid-19 crisis, the German railway industry Deutsche Bahn must ensure transport services throughout Germany. Currently, Deutsche Bahn is finalizing both regional and long-distance rail transport, ensuring that it meets the requirements of the railway authorities in the states. Then finally bring it back to normal railway operations.

    Ways to handle signs of infection on the ship

    Railway companies must report suspected cases of Covid-19 without delay to the Federal Police. Passengers with such signs must fill in an Aussteigekarte form, which must include full personal data, so that health services can track the chain of infection if it occurs.

    Ways to handle expired season ticket

    Anyone who has a season ticket that can't be used due to traffic restrictions during the epidemic, or will no longer use it, should contact the transportation company online or by phone. By doing that, they know the procedure to cancel the unused part of the ticket and apply for a partial refund of the corresponding fare. Many companies are ready to find the proper solution - even if the passenger wants to cancel the entire ticket. 

    transport in germany during epidemic

    Public tickets which can't be used due to traffic restrictions during the epidemic will be canceled

    Transporting goods overland is banned on weekdays except Sundays

    In order to prevent the shortage of goods supply due to the covid-19 epidemic, states have loosened the regulation on overland goods transportation. Accordingly, all means of transporting goods in all states are not currently prohibited from running on Sundays and public holidays.

    Exceptions for truck driving time and rest time

    Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the Federal Government decided to apply an exception to the previous regulation on truck driving time and rest time. This exception applies to trucks carrying gasoline, pharmaceuticals, food and fodder. According to the old regulations, the maximum driving time a day should not exceed 9 hours. No more than 10 hours per day per week. No more than 56 hours per week. Total 2 weeks no more than 90 hours.

    Exceptions are allowed, up to 5 days a week driving for no more than 10 hours. It is possible to reduce the break time for 2 consecutive weeks compared to the regulations, if there are 4 consecutive weeks to ensure a total of 4 weeks of rest in accordance with regulations, of which at least 2 weeks are guaranteed to be rest as prescribed for employees per week.

    Service guarantee for truck transportation

    The Federal Ministry of Transport regularly communicates with car parking businesses (Raststätten und Autohöfe) on highways, then agrees to implement the following measures:

    • Opening petrol stations under Tank & Rast system 24 hours a day.
    • Selling more hot takeaway food.
    • Using toilets and showers for free.
    • The Transport Association opens a 24-hour hotline so that truckers can make urgent calls for help for any unexpected incidents. Tel.: 0800 9 555 777.

    Customs clearance at border gates

    The Federal Government and the states team up with the European Commission to establish separate lanes for trucks transporting important goods such as medicine and food at border crossings. The inspection time in this lane should not exceed 15 minutes.

    Entry to Germany

    According to an agreement between the governments of the EU countries, an exception is allowed for people working in the transport of goods and passengers from 3rd countries into the Schengen area.

    Regarding the people within the EU into Germany, those who have a residence permit in Germany, have a place to stay in Germany or move to Germany to work daily are exempt from the entry restriction because of the current Covid-19 epidemic.

    Regulations on transporting goods by rail (DB)

    Domestic and cross-border goods transport is hardly restricted during the covid-19 pandemic. DB must coordinate closely with rail network builders Netz AG and other partners in neighboring countries to ensure smooth rail goods transportation under all circumstances.

    Regulations on airfreight

    The Federal Government ensures the constant operation of airfreight, along with the following measures:

    • Agreeing with the states to flexible exceptions to night flights so that German tourists as well as air freights can fly at any time.
    • Crew members are exempt from post-flight quarantine. Thereby, they can return to work when the specified rest period expires.
    • Exploiting full capacity of the airfreight.
    • The time limit for on-site technical inspection for airlines may be extended for another 6 months.
    • The Federal Aviation Administration maintains close contact with airlines, to flexibly apply time limits for crews on working time and rest time.

    Regulations on maritime transportation

    All port inspection measures for foreign ships are temporarily suspended under the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic. Inspections are only carried out by a "specialised team" in the context of an emergency. Ship certificates and crew certificates that expire on January 1, 2020 will be accepted as  immediate validity until June 30, 2020, so that sailors can resume their work.

    In order to maintain fully operational port functions, ship medical equipment is not subject to current export restrictions.

    Tags: travel regulation, German transport, international transportation, pandemic, Covid-19, German laws, travel restriction, entry to Germany

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