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FAQ (frequently asked questions) on the subject of coronavirus

Following you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers that we have currently received on the subject of coronavirus (status: 24.03.2020). Please note that there may generally be amendments and further measures in place at any time in view of the changing situation. We will constantly update you, especially on www.corona.saarland.de and Saarland’s social media channels, on all new developments.

What kind of contact can I have with other people?

Everybody is required to restrict physical and social contact with other people except for members of their own household to the absolute minimum considered necessary. 

Maximum one other person not belonging to their own household can accompany them outside (e.g. for sport or a walk).

People who do not belong to the household may neither visit another’s home nor receive visitors in their own home (exception: life partners who live separately; tradespeople who must enter the home, e.g. craftspeople for urgent repair work).

Can I still go shopping for food and other household necessities?

Yes, but you should do this alone. Do not take the whole family shopping with you. The fewer people converging on the supermarket at the same time, the better.

If you are not able to do this alone, for example because you are disabled or elderly, someone may help you with the shopping or go shopping for you. However, please note that visits to elderly people must be restricted to an absolute minimum due to the risk of infection.

Can parents living apart pass the care of children in common to each other?

Accompanying minors and exercising custody rights is allowed. Consequently, children can be placed in the care of the other parent respectively.

Can I meet up with my life partner (not married)?

Yes, this is covered by the rules so that you can meet up with your life partner. Visits and walks together are allowed. The term life partner refers to a person who is in a long-term relationship with another.

Can I still go cycling, jogging or walking in the forest or park? Can I drive there by car?

Sport and exercise in the open air is allowed if alone, together with another person not belonging to your household, or with members of your household.

Do I have to go to work? I come into contact with a lot of people there.

It is necessary to discuss the question of whether you have to go to work with your employer. In any event, employers have been called upon to ensure that appropriate hygiene measures have been taken and sufficient social distancing is in place. Employers are advised to allow staff to work at home, e.g. in the form of an electronic home office, whenever and wherever possible.

How do I show proof of identity on the way to work?

Satisfactory proof of a valid reason – as in other cases, too – is sufficient if you are subject to a check. It is not mandatory to carry special identification or a pass. There are no official forms required.

Can I take the dog for a walk?

This is allowed if you are alone or even with other members of your household, provided you do not gather into a small group. Ensure that you keep an appropriate distance from other people.

Can I go to my horse at the stable?

Yes. You can go to your horse to take care of it. However, the same also applies in this case: Physical and social contact with other people must be restricted to an absolute minimum.

Can I go riding?

Yes. Sport, walking and other exercise in the open air is allowed but not in groups and only on the condition that the 2-meter social distancing rule is observed at all times.

Can I have a barbecue in the garden?

You can use your own garden together with family members from your household, also to have a barbecue. Under no circumstances should you have a barbecue, ‘nice get-together’ or such like with other people in your garden! You must not invite neighbours or friends round! And if you are chatting, for example over the garden fence, the rule is to keep at least 1.5 m away from other people.

Can my children play with children from other families?

Even if your children spend most of the time at home now that the schools have closed, this is unfortunately not allowed. Contact with other people outside your household should be restricted to a minimum. This applies to all age groups.

Can I visit friends at home?

Everybody is required to restrict physical and social contact with other people outside their own household to the absolute minimum considered necessary. Consequently, this is unfortunately not allowed. Nor may you invite friends to visit you.

Would it make sense to have my elderly parents come and stay with me?

We strongly advise against this as elderly people are particularly at risk of being infected by coronavirus.

Can I have tradespeople working in my home?

The work of tradespeople outside stores is still allowed. A tradesperson may come to your home, especially if there is an emergency, e.g. water damage, heating failure, or broken toilet. In this case, it is necessary to observe the rules for hygiene and sufficient social distancing.

In general, the following applies: Any work that is not absolutely necessary at this time should be postponed to a later date.

Can my cleaner come to clean my home?

The provision of services outside stores is still allowed. Despite this concession, anyone who does not belong to your household should only be allowed into your home if this is absolutely necessary at this time.

In general, the following applies: Any work that is not absolutely necessary at this time should be postponed to a later date.

Can I go to the post office and will mail continue to be delivered?

Running errands for daily needs is allowed. Consequently, post offices will also remain open. Mail will continue to be delivered.

Is public transport still in operation?

Many people depend on public transport. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the public transport system provides a reliable service. Safety measures are already in place on public transport. Naturally, it is also necessary to observe the rules for hygiene and social distancing.

Can I still travel by taxi or use a rental car?

The 2-meter social distancing rule must also be observed in this case. That means that only one other person in addition to the driver may travel in a regular-size taxi – sitting in the back on a diagonal to the driver. Minivan taxis can take an additional passenger (i.e. 3 people including the driver).

Are motorway service areas still open?

Service areas on federal motorways and catering facilities at lorry stops remain open. This is to provide drivers of transport and logistics companies with sufficient food supplies, and other essential facilities.

Are hotels, other accommodation facilities and camping sites still open?

The operation of hotels, other accommodation facilities and camping sites or the provision of any other kind of accommodation for private tourist purposes is prohibited. The exception to this rule is if the service is provided in the case of travel necessary for work or the stay is unavoidable for personal reasons (e.g. a funeral, support of close relatives, uninhabitability of your own home due to fire or water damage).  

Can I move house if this was already planned?

Yes. In general, you can move house if this was already planned and if there is no possibility to postpone this. We advise postponing the move if possible to a later date. As a rule, only those people belonging to your household and, if necessary, one other person not belonging to your household can help with the move. Also, exercise caution when coming into direct contact with the people involved and observe the social distancing and hygiene rules.

How will restrictions on going out be enforced?

The police has been asked to check that the restrictions imposed on going out are being observed. Consequently, police patrols will be further intensified once again to make people more aware of this police presence. It is necessary to produce satisfactory proof of a valid reason to leave your home if you are subject to a check.

What happens if the rules are violated?

People violating the rules will be punished according to a Schedule of Fines and Penalties issued by the Federal State. This has been in force since 01.04.2020.

 The Schedule of Fines and Penalties can be found here online: Bußgeldkatalog

Who receives a swab test?

According to the guidelines of the RKI, a swab test will be given to anybody who

  • has had contact with a confirmed COVID 19 case up to maximum 14 days prior to the start of the onset of the disease
  • is working in care, a doctor’s surgery or hospital
  • belongs to a risk group

Contact your general practitioner (GP) or call the telephone number 116 117 (patient service) to discuss how to proceed.

The swab test will be undertaken at a special centre. It is essential that you follow your GP’s instructions and do not go to the surgery or swab test centre unless asked to do so!

In the case of a positive result, you will go into quarantine either at home or in hospital, depending on the severity of the progression. This will last 10 – 14 days, depending on whether the virus can still be detected or not.

Why isn’t everybody being tested?

Firstly, the testing capacities are limited and would not allow this. Secondly, if you are healthy, a test for COVID 19 does not tell us in any way if you can become ill. This would only put an unnecessary burden on testing capacities.

As a rule, a swab test is only necessary if the person concerned has developed symptoms such as a cough and fever and has been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case or has stayed in a risk area in the last 14 days.

Who should doctors and nurses who want to help contact?

We now need every helping hand in medical care – irrespective if you now work in a different field or have already retired. Get in touch!

  • Former doctors and doctors from other fields:

Medical Association (Ärztekammer) by telephone on 0681 4003-276 or by email at hilfseinsatz@aeksaar.de

  •  Former nurses/nursing assistants:

Chamber of Labour (Arbeitskammer) (Nursing Division) by telephone on 0681 4005-120 or by email at pflege@arbeitskammer.de

  •   Students:

Medical Association (Ärztekammer) by telephone on 0681 4003-276 or by email at studentenhilfe@aeksaar.de

Who can cross Saarland’s border into France/Luxembourg and who can’t?

Cross-border movement of goods and cross-border movement of commuters remain assured. Travellers without a valid reason to travel may no longer travel in and out. This also applies to travellers who display symptoms indicating a coronavirus infection. In such cases, the necessary measures will be set in motion in coordination with the public health authorities.

Commuters are asked to carry appropriate proof to show why they need to cross the border. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has asked all citizens to refrain from any non-essential travel.

In addition to the cross-border journey to and from the workplace (commuters) or to the cross-border movement of goods, there may also be another ‘valid’ serious personal reason; which private cross-border journey is to be considered as absolutely essential is at the duty-bound discretion of the officer on site.

Important contact partners and telephone numbers

Health-related questions on coronavirus

  • Hotline of Saarland’s Ministry of Health (saarländisches Gesundheitsministerium): 0681 501-4422
  • Hotline of the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit): 030 346465100

Questions for patients

  • Hotline of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung): 116 117

For people from France

  • Coronavirus Hotline France (24h from French network): 0800 130 00