Rules for returning from a risk area

The crisis unit decided to enact the following rules until further notice:


last update: August 16, 2020

You should carefully check this list of risk areas when choosing a travel destination and when returning from any trip. We advise all employees to avoid risk areas if possible.


Starting August 8, every person who enters Germany from an RKI-designated risk area must be tested for the novel coronavirus. This mandatory testing rule applies to people of all nationalities, to people of all ages including children and small children, and to all forms of travel, including residents returning from vacation and people starting new jobs at our institute.


An individual entering Germany has three options for this mandatory first test:

  • Taking an RKI-recognized molecular biological (PCR) test shortly before beginning your return journey and presenting your negative test result at the airport or other entry point. The negative test result must be less than 48 hours old at the time of presentation to be considered valid. PCR tests from all EU countries and about 100 other countries are currently recognized by the RKI (see bottom of the page for an archived PDF in English).
  • Submitting to a free PCR test at their point of entry; in Baden-Württemberg the test is presently available at Stuttgart airport, Karlsruhe airport, Friedrichshafen airport, the main Stuttgart train station, and on the A5 at the motorway service station in Neuenburg-Ost. It is also available at Frankfurt airport and other major airports across Germany. Please note that the waiting time may sometimes be several hours.
  • Obtaining a free PCR test at a corona testing center, a specialist practice, or their family doctor’s practice within 72 hours of returning. For example, the off-campus practice of our company doctor, Dr. Zehender, offers this test in Büsnau.


Importantly, all travelers entering Germany from a risk region are required to remain in quarantine until a negative test result is obtained. Individuals who are found to deliberately or negligently disobey these regulations can be punished by a fine of up to 25,000 EUR.


Furthermore, each individual must also register with the local authorities upon their entry from a risk region. In the Stuttgart region, please write to stating the risk region you came from, the date and time of your return to Germany, what means of transport (plane, train, car, etc.) you used, your name, your nationality, and your address in the Stuttgart region. If you already have a negative test result, please also include it in the message.


Because the PCR test cannot detect very recent exposures to SARS-CoV-2, and because it sometimes gives false negative results, the health authorities also strongly encourage everyone to undergo a second PCR test four to five days after entering Germany from a risk region. This test is also free and can be obtained at all the same locations as the first mandatory test.

Protecting the health of our employees is of the utmost importance to the campus crisis unit. We want our campus to be even safer than public buildings in Stuttgart. Thus, we decided to require individuals coming from a risk region to undergo a second PCR test four to five days after entry to Germany. The person is allowed to enter our institute buildings only if this test is also negative.

In other words, any individual who wants to enter Heisenbergstr. 1, Heisenbergstr. 3, the S Building, or the Precision Lab must wait four to five days after entry from a risk region, take a second free PCR test, and get a negative result. They are expected to work from home or take vacation days during the waiting period. Individuals who have returned from a risk region and do not take a second test after arrival must wait fourteen days before entering our buildings on campus.

The crisis unit recognizes that this requirement for a second negative test incurs additional burden on our employees who must enter Germany from a risk region. However, we are confident that the benefits of reducing the chances of COVID-19 transmission within our campus community outweigh the drawbacks.

For clarity, individuals are not required to quarantine during the time they are waiting to take and pass the second test. The crisis unit recommends that they avoid contact with others to limit possible virus transmission, but they are allowed to ride public transportation (with a mask), go shopping (with a mask), and do all other activities except enter our campus research buildings.


Importantly, the crisis unit decided to allow people to stay in the guest house after only one negative test result. We anticipate that only a small number of new employees will be coming to our campus from risk regions in the coming months, and we explicitly want them to be able to stay in the guest house at the start of their time in Germany. They are subject to the same requirement of taking and passing a second PCR test before entering our main buildings. Until they get the second negative result, they should avoid close contact with their neighbors and refrain from going into shared areas of the guest house if not necessary.


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