Starting December 25, Germany will add 6 new countries to its list of "high-risk" travel areas including the United States, Spain and Portugal.

Finland, Monaco and Cyprus were also added to the list by the Robert Koch Institute. 

The designation add requirements for those arriving from those countries making it more difficult for unvaccinated travelers to visit.  Travelers must fill out a digital entry registration and present proof of a negative PCR test, proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus. 

Then travelers must quarantine for ten days. Vaccinated and recovered travelers do not have to quarantine if they upload proof of vaccination or recovery with their digital registration. Unvaccinated travelers can undergo a COVID-19 test on day 5 and end the quarantine early if the result is negative. 

The country currently has 56 countries designated high-risk areas. 

Germany targets NYE celebrations with post-Christmas restrictions

In an effort to target large-scale New Year's Eve celebrations that could result in the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Germany’s federal and state governments will tighten COVID-19 restrictions for even vaccinated individuals after the Christmas holiday. 

German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports the new restrictions will start December 28. Under the new rules, private gatherings of vaccinated and recovered individuals will be limited to 10 people. If someone in the group is unvaccinated, the gathering is limited to one other household. 

Fireworks are banned and clubs will be closed. Large gatherings will not be allowed and spectators will not be allowed at places like concerts and sporting events.

Germany already had enacted 2G restrictions nationwide. The 2G stands for “geimpft oder genesen”—vaccinated or recovered—and is a virtual lockdown for the unvaccinated, restricting them from most places except those that are essential, such as pharmacies and grocery stores.

Previously, the 3G restrictions allowed unvaccinated people to choose “getestet”—or testing—as an alternative way to access activities. 

Read more: Everything you need to know about the EU's digital COVID-19 certificate

What do the new rules mean for travel to Germany?

Germany has limited access to the country for people traveling from certain "variant of concern" countries who are not permanent residents or citizens. Arrivals from these countries, which currently include the United Kingdom and certain countries in southern Africa, must quarantine for 14 days even if they are vaccinated. 

Arrivals from other countries must register online before arriving and, depending on where they are arriving from, provide proof of vaccination, recovery or testing. For instance, those arriving from the United States are required to show proof of vaccination to enter. 

Though the federal government may allow entry, be aware that states are allowed to set further restrictions that may impact your travel. Bavaria and Saxony, two of the German states that have been hit hardest by the recent rise in cases, have both restricted tourism. In November, Munich canceled its Christmas market due to the inability to regulate entry to the market under the 2G regulations.

Read more: Europe's Christmas markets 2021: How COVID and cancellations could impact your trip

The US Department of State currently designates Germany as a Level-4 country and urges Americans not to travel to the area at this time.

For more information on COVID-19 and travel, check out Lonely Planet's Health Hub.

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This article was first published December 2021 and updated December 2021

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