Federal emergency brake applies: What you can now do in the evening – and what not

In the fight against the corona virus, the federal government is now relying on a nationwide lockdown. Everywhere in Germany where the number of new infections is high, a so-called federal emergency brake applies.

It applies where the 7-day incidence is over 100 on three consecutive days. If the incidence falls below 100, the emergency brake is only released when the value remains stable below 100 for five consecutive days.

The emergency brake provides for curfews, contact restrictions, compulsory tests, school closings and restrictions in public life.

From an incidence of 100, there are curfews in the counties and cities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following day. Consumers should stay at home from this time and are not allowed to leave the house without good reason or be in public places.

What can I do in the evening during the curfew?


If you have to be on the road for work, you can also go out at night. These include, for example, taxi drivers, courier services, delivery services, postal workers, bakers (who have to be in the bakery before 4 a.m.), nurses and other important professional groups.

FOCUS Online advises: It is not mandatory, but advisable. Be sure to get one from your employer Employer statement with company stamp and signature exhibit. This will avoid unnecessary trouble and save time during the police check.


In the event of a medical emergency, when a family member needs urgent help or another serious situation exists, the curfew also does not apply. In dangerous and hot situations, the responsible local police station and the emergency number help.

Case study: They have very severe toothache in the evening and urgently need help because they can no longer stand the pain, they cannot sleep or they feel uncomfortable. In such a case, you can ask for help and go to the emergency service of a dental clinic. However, call them in advance.

Case study 2: Someone you care for stops answering the phone at night. The neighbors have already rang the person’s doorbell, but they do not respond. You are now seriously worried and want to make sure that everything is right. Although there is a curfew in your locality, you are allowed to visit the caregiver. In the event of a police check, you might need to provide precise evidence of why you need to visit this person now.

Joggers and athletes

If you want to go out in the evening, for example to get other thoughts after a stressful day, you can go for a walk or jog alone after 10 p.m. If the partner or roommate wants to come along, separate paths should be used or sufficient distance should be maintained. This goodwill rule no longer applies after midnight. FOCUS Online advises: If you go out after 10 p.m., leave rucksacks, carrier bags or other bags at home. This saves you unnecessary questions in the event of an identity check. Cycling is usually not allowed during this time (between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.). According to research by FOCUS, however, individual municipalities regulate this differently and are more accommodating with cyclists until midnight. Joggers and walkers generally stay in their immediate vicinity. Those who get on their bikes usually travel longer distances and could therefore violate the curfew.

Go for a walk

Dog owners are allowed to go for a walk with their dog. There is no limit to this. When dogs have to go out, that’s just the way it is.

order pizza

Restaurants, takeaways and delivery services are open regularly. So you can easily order a pizza, pasta or other dishes and have them delivered. It is important, however, that you are not allowed to pick up the ordered food yourself after 10 p.m. Not even in the grace period between 10 p.m. and midnight.

bring out garbage

If you still want to take out the garbage at night, you can do that. You can also put out the garbage can for garbage collection at night. Especially if you came home late for professional reasons.

What am I not allowed to do in the evening during curfew?

visit friends

Private meetings are generally no longer allowed after 10 p.m. Anyone invited to dinner should return home before 10 p.m. The excuse: “I went for a walk” cannot be used when you march through the area late at night with a rucksack and gifts for guests.

to travel

In an expert opinion, the Bundestag’s scientific service also found a so-called night travel ban in the federal emergency brake. According to the lawyers, consumers are not allowed to travel by car, train or plane through regions with a 7-day incidence of over 100 after 10 p.m. Consumers are only allowed to travel from A to B at night if there is an important reason.

At the same time, however, the following applies: Deutsche Bahn currently continues to offer train travel after 11 p.m. – even in regions with incidences of over 300. It is possible that nocturnal bus, car and train journeys within two districts are in a legal gray area.

FOCUS Online advises: If you have planned a trip to your parents or grandparents within Germany, you should plan trips before 10 p.m. – and coordinate the trip so that you arrive at your destination before the curfew begins. If consumers have already booked a trip, travelers should keep their travel confirmation with the booking date to hand so that they can easily explain themselves in the event of an inspection.


Petrol is usually cheaper after 9 p.m. This is another reason why consumers often go to the petrol pumps late in the evening. But you are only allowed to refuel if you are on your way to work or on your way home during the curfew (from 10 p.m.). The same applies if there is a family emergency and you still need to refuel.

Bringing cigarettes or shopping

Chocolate from the gas station, beer from the late market or cigarettes from the machine: you should avoid all of these between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Because you had enough time to stock up on the products during the day, there is no valid reason after 10 p.m.

to make the laundry

Laundromats are usually open around the clock. Anyone who depends on such establishments should consider: After 10 p.m. it is not allowed to wash your laundry in the laundromat. Therefore, you should do this either before 10 p.m. or after 5 a.m.

Cycling or night walks

Cycling is only allowed after 10 p.m. for working people on their way to work or home. Popular night hikes and evening group walks are also prohibited.

How do I behave during a police check?

Basically, law enforcement officers have to work more night shifts than they might like because of the curfew. Compared to FOCUS Online police reported again and again of the increasing abuse they experience in their everyday life. All in all, it can be said: Most police officers really don’t want to go through the controls.

If you are out and about even though the curfew applies: Put on a face mask, keep your distance and stay calm and calm. If there is a violation, you will usually only be warned and informed about the curfew. In many cases, the police officers can even help. For example, if there is an emergency.

You should also not unnecessarily provoke police checks. Anyone who is caught drunk with wine bottles at night and then claims to be jogging, even though they actually live ten kilometers further, could risk a fine. The same applies if someone claims to have been a walker after midnight without a dog.

Download: Employer certificate template for checking in the event of curfews (PDF)

Individual federal states that have already imposed curfews in the past have fines for “staying outside the apartment or other accommodation contrary to an existing exit restriction ”. As a rule, and depending on the severity of the violation, this makes between 50 and 500 euros.

Do not give false personal details. As a rule, the fine in such a case and depending on the severity of the misstatement, is between 50 and 250 euros.

Good to know: A police check always starts with a classic introductory question. A police officer from Munich confirmed this on request. Then it says something like: “Good evening. A general identity check. Can you identify yourself? ”In a further course the police want to find out whether there has been a violation of the curfew. Therefore the questions could follow: “Where are you from?” Or “Where do you want to go so late?”

“I recommend answering the survey as briefly and politely as possible. This has a de-escalating effect and helps to end the unpleasant situation as quickly as possible, “says lawyer Robert Hotstegs, for example from the German Lawyers’ Association (DAV).

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