Your company is already operating in Germany and you would now like to export worldwide?

Man and woman with face mask. Man and woman with face mask. | © GettyImages/martin-dm

Coronavirus and Germany

Germany’s economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic continues throughout 2022. A high global demand for products made in Germany and a robust labor market paralleled by stable consumer spending support the rebound of the economy.

Germany Trade & Invest is working for you – with regular information updates and answers to your questions about your business expansion to Germany. Our industry teams provide ongoing support and are happy to connect with you – in Germany and around the world.

National Corona Regulations

Since the beginning of April 2022, most pandemic restrictions in Germany are no longer in effect. 

Germany has entered a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic with the removal of most protective measures after a period of two years. The updated Infection Protection Act contains basic measures such as the wearing of protective masks on buses and trains and in hospitals and care facilities. It also provides for precautions in the event that the coronavirus situation comes to a head in individual regions. 

Basic protection  

Certain basic protective measures, such as mandatory masks and tests, remain in  place in nursing homes, outpatient care and hospitals. The obligation to wear a mask in buses and trains and the obligation to test in schools will also continue to apply.

Local hotspots

The federal states can impose further protective measures in the event of a local infection threat situation. This is subject to a resolution issued by the respective state parliament. Possible local measures include, for instance, mandatory mask provisions and a 1.5 meter distance requirement in public spaces. In addition, proof of vaccination, convalescence or testing could be required when entering certain facilities and businesses. 

Workplace rules

Although the legal obligation is no longer in place,  employers still have the option to offer home office to employees where deemed necessary. The employer  must provide a hygiene concept in which the necessary measures for the protection against infection in the company are defined and implemented. If an operational risk assessment shows that the wearing of a protective mask is required, the employer must provide such masks. 

Employers must continue to allow their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 during working hours and offer testing once a week to all employees not working completely from home.

Covid-19 testing

Rapid antigen tests for asymptomatic citizens are free of charge for citizens in Germany.  Employers are still required to offer employees who do not completely work from home Covid-19 testing once a week. Schoolchildren are tested regularly in school.

Testing remains mandatory for employers, employees and visitors in hospitals, preventive care and rehabilitation facilities. 

Useful further information

For further information on the federal level measures, please refer to the government’s website linking to the corresponding websites of the federal states (in German only). 

Additionally, the special information website for the Corona virus provided by the Federal Ministry of Health offers useful information.

Entry Regulations and Travel Restrictions

As of March 3, 2022, Germany has lifted the high-risk status from all countries or areas previously classified as such based on the spread of the Omicron variant.

Requirements when entering Germany

When entering Germany, the 3G rule applies: everyone must be vaccinated, recovered or tested negative (PCR or antigen test maximum 48 hours old). Children under the age of twelve do not have to provide any proof.

The EU digital COVID certificate offers an EU-wide standardized proof variant and is accepted as vaccination proof in Germany. If the second vaccination is more than 270 days old, a third vaccination is required for a valid entry certificate.

Extended regulations apply for high-risk and virus variant areas. For detailed information please refer to the dedicated website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Who can enter Germany?

There are no pandemic-related travel restrictions in place to travellers entering Germany from member states of the EU or Schengen associated states (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland).

Fully vaccinated travelers from countries outside of the EU are in general allowed to enter Germany. This group may enter Germany for any valid purpose, e.g. business trips, tourism or for family visits provided that they meet the general requirements of residence law.

For travelers not falling under this category, unrestricted entry to Germany is allowed from specific third countries with low infection rates. For up-to-date information and a list of all relevant countries, please refer to the dedicated website of the German Federal Ministry of Interior.

Current Economic Developments

Despite current developments including the war in Ukraine and coronavirus returning to China, Germany’s economy is still expected to grow - albeit at a lower level than forecast earlier this year.

The current economic situation

A number of economic analyses forecast 2022 as the year of strong recovery for the German economy after the coronavirus pandemic. The economic effects of the global pandemic have been less severe in Germany than previously expected. The federal government's comprehensive and rapid support for companies since the beginning of the crisis has proven effective to date. A resumption of social and economic activities - with the removal of restrictions - is stimulating the economy.

The situation in the service industries has brightened significantly, with positive developments signalled in the retail trade and hospitality sectors in particular.

German industry can also look to well-stocked order books and worldwide demand for German goods, with exports increasing by almost 10 percent in 2021.

The domestic labor market is also showing signs of recovery. Many job openings led to a significant decrease in rates of unemployment. The Federal Employment Agency reports an unemployment rate of five percent at the end of April 2022 compared to six percent in April 2021.

However, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has adversely impacted on the previously high confidence levels of just a few months ago - particularly in German industry.  Sanctions imposed on Russia will have a negative impact on the domestic economy and consumption. Supply chain disruptions and increased prices are dampening near-term growth prospects.

Revised expectations

According to data published by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), Germany’s GDP grew by 2.9 percent in 2021, having declined by 4.6 percent in 2020. Before the start of the war in Ukraine, the German government expected growth of 3.6 percent for the year 2022. This projection was recently revised to 2.2 percent.

Forecasts made by the European Commission (EC) have also been revised. This resulted in significant reductions of GDP projections for the vast majority of European member states. The EC also points out the economic improvements in Germany as mentioned above, but is more sceptical of the impact the Ukrainian war will have on the economy. According to the EC, Germany's economy will grow at a rate of 1.6 percent in 2022.

FDI perspectives

Having felt the impact of the severe global economic downturn caused by Covid-19 in 2020, Germany recorded a nine percent drop in FDI projects two years ago. Fortunately, 2021 saw a big comeback as Germany Trade & Invest recorded a seven percent increase that elevated greenfield project numbers to 1,806.

Germany’s reputation as a FDI safe haven helped maintain stability in an otherwise unstable environment. In 2020 and 2021, Germany received the majority of greenfield projects in Europe. The country's  reputation as Europe’s most attractive business location helped to keep the slump within limits and generate better results than previously expected.

For more information please see the results of the GTAI 2021 FDI Report.

Financial Government Support Measures

The country’s economy is in a strong position to introduce measures supporting the economy over a prolonged period. By providing businesses with sufficient liquidity, the government measures have helped ensure that enterprises emerge from the crisis intact.

Financial support for companies

At this current juncture in the pandemic, the most important support is now the EUR 1.1 trillion committed to a wide variety of loans, liquidity grants, financing programs, and guarantees. These measures keep businesses liquid in the short-to-medium term, as well as encouraging further research and development and enabling business with longer product development cycles to continue working towards market maturity.

Small to medium-sized companies are still eligible for liquidity aid grants covering fixed costs (depending on assessed decline in revenue) up to June 30, 2022. To be eligible for a grant to cover fixed costs, applicants must prove that their turnover has shrunk by over 30 percent.

Fresh Start Assistance 2022 schemes provide targeted support in the form of grants to self-employed individuals who do not have fixed costs, providing EUR 1,500 per month up to June 30, 2022.

A detailed overview of the available and comprehensive pandemic crisis support programs is available on the dedicated website of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Flexible rules for short-time allowance schemes

The Federal Employment Agency pays the short-time allowance as partial compensation for a loss of earnings caused by a temporary cut in working hours. This reduces the costs faced by employers in the context of employing workers, and enables companies to continue to employ their workforce even in the event of a loss of orders. In other words, short-time allowances help to prevent dismissals and/or redundancies.

Short-time allowances schemes can currently be granted on a more flexible basis for a limited period until June 30, 2022. For instance, companies are eligible to apply if 10 percent of employees are affected by shorter working hours.

From January 1 until June 30, 2022, some 50 percent of social security contributions will be reimbursed by the Federal Employment Agency. Employers can receive the other 50 percent for employees who participate in vocational training during short-time work. 

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