Coronavirus: Help and Support

The spread of coronavirus is posing major challenges for businesses and, consequently, for you as a professional who is planning to work in Berlin, has just arrived in Berlin to start a new job, or is already working here. 

As the City of Berlin’s business development agency, our aim is to provide you with extensive support in this difficult situation and compile all the relevant information for you.

We have broken the information down into the following categories:

OUR TIP: In our section "Jobs der Woche" (german only) you will find weekly updated job offers, which are surely staffed even in corona times. Inform & apply now!

Do You Live and Work in Berlin?

Please contact your employer to discuss how to proceed. Employers currently have the option to apply for loans or for funding to implement reduced working hours so they can continue to pay wages and salaries for the time being. Your employer will provide you with information about further measures. 

Freelancers and Self-Employed Individuals

Freelancers and self-employed individuals in need of support have the option of applying to the Job Center for unemployment benefits (Arbeitslosengeld II, or ALG II for short) in emergency situations to provide them with basic financial support, just as they would have done in the past. The Service Center there has set up the following hotline for this purpose:

Telephone: (030) 5555 32 6860

The Job Center is aware that the current situation is an exceptional one for self-employed individuals and will endeavor to process applications as quickly as possible.

Upon recent consultation with the Job Center, we have been informed that the following aspects are absolutely vital for the rapid processing of applications for basic financial support:

1. ALG II main application form (Hauptantrag)
2. EKS Appendix (appendix on income from self-employment – Anlage zum Einkommen Selbständiger (EKS)), complete
3. Fill out both forms and e-mail them to the Job Center.

OUR TIP: Read through the instructions for filling out the forms and attach your business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung) and tax return (Steueranmeldung) to the forms. In the section regarding the reason for your application, mention the ongoing coronavirus crisis and explain the fact that you have suffered a loss of revenue as a result. 

Further financial support is planned. We will publish any reliable information here as soon as we receive it.

OUR TIP: Berlin-based legal firm Rechtsanwaltskanzlei Härting offers a free initial consultation by telephone for self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs. Please see their website for details on how to proceed. Thank you.

OUR TIP: Freelancers, employees, or micro-enterprises, the platform Because Berlin is also here to support you in English with all your procedures! They put together a detailed FAQ to answer all your questions during the COVID-19 crisis. Get in touch with them via email or DM in social media! 

UPDATE: The micro-enterprises with a maximum of 10 employees as well as freelancers and self-employed persons who have been particularly hard hit by the Corona crisis can now apply for subsidies to secure their professional or business existence quickly and with little bureaucracy. Note: The page is currently only available in German. 

Artists

Artists who have had to lower their income projections for the year as a result of cancellations or similar issues should report this directly to the Künstlersozialkasse (Artists Social Insurance, KSK) so that they can reduce their monthly premium payments. Please fill out the Notice of Change form (Änderungsmitteilung) and send it to the KSK.

Holders of a GVL Rights Administration Agreement

Holders of a GVL rights administration agreement who work exclusively on a freelance basis and have suffered a loss of income due to event or production cancellations directly resulting from COVID-19 can apply for a one-time emergency relief package amounting to EUR 250 as part of GVL’s social benefits program. Please fill out the PDF application form and the data processing consent form and e-mail both completed forms along with proof of your claim to coronahilfe@gvl.de

Hotlines

In cooperation with the City of Berlin, we hope to prevent Berlin-based companies from needing to declare bankruptcy – and making the associated layoffs – as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The City of Berlin is currently working with the German federal government to draw up concrete measures to support businesses and safeguard jobs in Berlin. 

Please contact the following information hotlines if you have any questions:

HOTLINE FOR SUSPECTED CORONAVIRUS CASES

(030) 90 28 28 28

BERLIN PARTNER HOTLINE

(030) 46 302 222

IBB HOTLINE (INVESTITIONSBANK BERLIN – BERLIN INVESTMENT BANK)

(030) 212 547 47

VISIT HOTLINE (FOR VISITORS TO BERLIN)

(030) 264 748 886

ÄRZTLICHER BEREITSCHAFTSDIENST (ON-CALL MEDICAL SERVICE)

116 117

TELEFON-SEELSORGE (COUNSELING HOTLINE)

0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222

Some hotlines unfortunately only work in German. We apologize for this.

The following page provides a quick overview of the latest financial support measures for business owners, such as interim loans, liquidity assistance, and reduced working hour programs. The page is updated every day; new measures and programs will be added step by step.

Central service portal for the metropolitan region of Berlin

The website for the Federal Employment Agency Regional Directorate Berlin-Brandenburg also provides extensive information on the following topics:

  • Short-time compensation for employees
  • Basic income + housing benefit for solopreneurs and freelancers
  • Jobseeker’s allowance and current (including temporary) job offers
  • Regional service numbers for the Berlin Employment Agencies and Jobcentres
  • Nationwide social security package with simplified procedures for services

Find out more on the website or call one of the following hotlines:

Employer hotline

0800 4 5555 20

Employee hotline

0800 4 5555 00

Basic income hotline

0800 4 5555 23

Child benefir hotline

0800 4 5555 30

Information for freelancers & sole traders

0800 4 5555 23

Persons with an interest in employment

030 5555 99 22 33

Polish employees

0335 570 4733

OUR TIP: Please note that most of the documents that need to be filled in are only available in German. This also applies to the hotlines. The best thing to do is to ask someone you know who can speak German if they will help you out. Alternatively, you can also look for help on platforms such as Localyze and myhelpbuddy.com!

Welcome Center Berlin

The Willkommenszentrum Berlin (Welcome Centre Berlin) provides information in several languages on the following Corona topics: Financial assistance, questions about the workplace, questions about residence, accommodation, protection from COVID-19, best practice of migrant organisations, current projects, psychosocial support, shelter, school and day care. Among them: English, Russian, French, Turkish, Arabic, Farsi, Polish, Romanian and Spanish. Also on Facebook and Twitter or by phone or e-mail. 

Expats

Are you currently in Berlin as an expat? The Localyze platform is there for you from now on and helps you with information, immigration issues and supports you with bureaucratic procedures. Please contact them!

Social engagement

More than ever before, various companies, platforms and associations are currently organising themselves socially in Berlin. From now on we are collecting offers that are relevant for you as Berliners and that you can join. Many offers are on a voluntary basis - some are also paid. 

OUR TIP: If you need help contacting a service, contact the platforms Localyze or myhelpbuddy.com for assistance!

What is still open in Berlin?

A question that occupies many Berliners. We have collected a number of useful links here, which keep an eye on shops and other institutions in the capital that are still open. 

Are You Planning to Move to Berlin? Or Are You Already on Your Way?

The Robert Koch Institute has assessed the current level of risk in Germany as “high.” An entry ban for non-EU citizens has been in place since March 18, 2020. Please contact the German Foreign Office or the German Embassy in your home country before your move, and make sure to stay informed of the latest entry restrictions. 

If it is possible to delay your move, we would recommend doing so; moving here would be extremely difficult at the moment. Currently, there is no reliable information regarding when the restrictions now in place in the capital will be lifted. We will keep you informed here. 

If you already have a fixed date for your move to Berlin that is tied to the start of a new job, please contact your employer directly and inquire about the company’s current situation.

We will update this page regularly as new information becomes available. 

OUR TIP: The German Foreign Office has a special coronavirus website that includes information about global travel warnings. Please make use of this information when planning your move to Berlin.

OUR TIP: The Berlin Immigration Office has published a helpful online FAQ on the handling and processing of applications during the coronavirus pandemic. Take a look today and keep yourself informed!

Further Information about Coronavirus

The following section contains helpful links about coronavirus in Berlin. Please also make sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

OUR TIP: For your questions about the Corona crisis in Berlin, you can also use the chatbot of the Berlin Senate Administration. The Chatbot Bobbi supports you with dialogue-based answers to your questions on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in the following languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Russian.

OUR TIP: To cope with the corona pandemic, the Berlin clinics and medical treatment centres need the support of all medically trained Berliners. The new Corona Center Berlin appeals to medically qualified citizens to get involved. Jobs for doctors, certified nurses and assistants, medical students, emergency paramedics, physiotherapists & voluntary supporters (m/f/d)! Note: The website of the center is currently only available in German. 

If you are worried that you might have been infected with coronavirus, your first step should be to call your doctor or one of the following examination centers in Berlin:

Charité Campus Virchow-Klinikum
Augustenburger Platz 1
13353 Berlin
Internal address: Mittelallee 1
Opening hours: daily from 8 am to 4 pm
Please call (030) 90 28 28 28 before visiting the hotline.

DRK Kliniken Berlin Westend
Spandauer Damm 130, Haus 10
14050 Berlin
Opening hours: 9 am

Vivantes Klinikum Prenzlauer Berg
Access via Diesterwegstrasse
10405 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
Please call (030) 90 28 28 28 before visiting the hotline.

Vivantes Wenckebach-Klinikum
Access via Albrechtstraße
12099 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
Please call (030) 90 28 28 28 before visiting the hotline.

Evangelisches Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth Herzberge
Herzbergstraße 79
10365 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Havelhöhe
Kladower Damm 221
14089 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 8 pm
Please call the clinic hotline (030) 365 01 7222 before visiting.