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"Luca" App in Germany; N95 masks required in Bavaria on all public transpo & hotels

I have been in Germany since 7/29. We started in Hamburg and are now in Munich. In Hamburg we learned about a new app called "Luca." I advise you to download it now while you have access to your own data/WiFi. Then you show up at a restaraunt or bar or even a store in Germany. There is a sign or poster at the door that tells you to scan the QR code. Once it did not work for me but the greeter handed me a card with a different QR code to scan. If it works, "Luca" checks you in and starts a stopwatch type of timer. Then you are supposed to "check out" when you leave. Honestly though from what I can tell, it's not a very effective app nor is it strictly followed. If they can see "Luca" on your phone they just let you in. I am the only one in our group who has cellular data (I am travelling with my kids) and once the maitre-d sees my app QR code, they let all of us in. I believe it is only for government regulations but the individual establishments don't really care...they care more about the business. Also you can tell them you don't have the app or it is not working and you can fill out a piece of paper. In addition, one bar in Hamburg asked us all for our CDC cards/vaccination records, in order to sit inside. If you sit outside, they don't need to see it. Also our first hotel in Bavaria (Munich) asked to see our CDC vaccination records. Apparently in Bavaria, if you do not have proof of vaccination, you have to have a rapid test and quarantine until it comes back. Also in Bavaria, N95 masks are required EVERYWHERE inside. Regular medical masks are not good enough. I had heard this and ordered 10 on Amazon before we left at a really cheap price. Glad I did! Good luck everyone!

Posted by
56 posts

Thanks Ann! We grabbed a handful of N95 masks from our daughter (ER physician) and will be packing those! With every country having in the EU having different requirements it's good to cover all our bases.

Posted by
265 posts

The general guidelines are the 3 Gs--geimpft (vaccinated), genesen (recovered), getestet (48 hour rapid antigen test, you can get them everywhere) for indoor dining and activities and for any group gatherings. Masks indoors (surgical suffices in most places, a few require FFP2/N95, cloth masks not accepted). Rules change frequently. Contact tracing required, usually through Luca, especially in Hamburg, but paper also can work depending on the place. I needed Luca to go to IKEA the other day, and I don't think they had paper options.

You can buy surgical and FFP2 masks everywhere, so don't stress about packing them in advance if you are worried.

Posted by
3494 posts

We grabbed a handful of N95 masks from our daughter (ER physician) and
will be packing those!

I will respectfully submit that N95 masks are readily available for purchase on Amazon. I'm hoping that the ER physician shared from the stash she bought on Amazon, as opposed to misappropriating her organization's personal protective equipment intended for the safety and protection of her colleagues. My organization is still giving us paper bags to put our N95 masks in between uses so that we can use a single mask as long as possible.

Posted by
30301 posts

Thank you Dave. As one who is living where ... no I won't comment.

Just don't deplete the needed PPE from those who need it.

I wanted to say same as you but was too angry so held off.

Posted by
1025 posts

Thank you for the info.

I have been trying to look up Luca app in Google Play store, but found no app under this name.
Do you mind posting the weblink to this app here?

Thanks again.

Posted by
8500 posts

No need to give Jeff Bezos more money, when these masks are for sale in EVERY grocery store, drugstore or Apotheke in Germany.
Depending on the state, you only need the FFP2 in certain ones on trains, etc. Like in Bavaria.
Medical masks are fine here in Hessen. Leave the cloth masks at home as they are not acceptable on trains, stores, churches, museums. It has to be some sort of medical mask.

Posted by
8 posts

What's the typical price for these FFP2 masks in Germany? Just curious ...

Posted by
8500 posts

I think 1-2€ each? I got a batch of 6 for 2€ as a gift since I am a senior, so haven't paid much attention to the prices lately. Will look today when I go downtown.

Posted by
272 posts

I have found the prices at Müller (a large store in many German cities) to be competitive for masks. Here is their website that lists prices for different types.

Posted by
265 posts

Ms. Jo is correct. You can get them for 1-2 Euro each. Most places also accept surgical masks, and you can buy 10 packs for about 6 Euros. They now also come in black and pink for those who like variety over the blue ;) Self test kits are also readily available at about 3 Euros each, and right now the official testing stations (rapid antigen test) are still everywhere; these are free to residents, and I don't know if they are free to visitors. Takes 5 minutes to register and test, and you get your results via email within 15 minutes. However, the plan is to cut those back significantly in October and to start charging--I think 35 Euros for antigen tests. PCR tests are also easy to find and cost anywhere from 70-150 Euros depending on how fast you need them. Right now the PCRs are valid for 72 and antigen for 48 hours, but they are looking to change that to 48/24 respectively.

At least that's how it is up here in the North.

The Luca app is used extensively up here. I don't know how to post the link, but it should be available in the US app store; my family downloaded it. What isn't available is the vaccination link, so make sure you have your card available.

Oh, and if your final vaccine was a date that could be written reverse, make a note of that--a friend who was vaccinated on April 8th was recently told he wasn't past his two weeks yet because someone read the date as August 4th. We had to explain that the US writes the date differently and point to the first vaccine for evidence. Be prepared for that when you go out with your CDC card

Posted by
15 posts

Very good advice from Howlin Mad. I meant to post right after I came back to the States but got busy. It was super easy to get an antigen test in Berlin on August 9. The appointment was easy to make online. We were literally inside the clinic testing for 8 minutes. And we all had our results back in 20 minutes. We used a company called CovidZentrum.de and were very pleased. Rapid tests should be so easy in our home state of Delaware; unfortunately they are not! I also heard that Germany was going to start charging for these rapid antigen tests for all, their citizens and internationals, starting in October. That was the word among the locals as of August 8, 2021, in Berlin Germany. Safe travels everyone and keep on travelin'!

Posted by
8 posts

Ann, when you used the Luca App, did you enter a US phone number?

I installed the app and tried to get it to send me a TAN code, but nothing has arrived. Wondering if it works with a US phone number, or maybe only when in Germany.

Posted by
29 posts

It works but you need to fiddle with the country code- I registered by using +1 to my number I think.

Posted by
8 posts

Hm, tried Luca again today (manually prefixing my phone number with +1) and got a code instantly in the US.

Maybe the service was just down the first time I tried.

Posted by
265 posts

It looks like the Luca app will be phased out soon, so it may not be an issue. Unfortunately I cannot remember the exact dates I heard.

Posted by
29 posts

Oh wow! Thanks! The ‘+1’ at the beginning worked for me. Before I tried both with and without a ‘1’ in front of the number and the ‘TAN’ number never came through. Been in Germany a week and hasn’t been a huge issue without Luca app working, but it will be nice to have one less thing to think about the next two weeks!