Prevention and Security Measures against the Corona Virus

Prevention and Security Measures against the Corona Virus

Information and safety instructions for all scientists, employees and guests at MPQ

September 17, 2020

To further contain the spread of the Corona virus and to protect the health and safety of our employees the following measures are currently in place. We also recommend that our employees install the new Corona alert app on their smartphones to help an early detection and significant reduction of the virus.

*this website is constantly updated.

Travelling to designated risk areas and in general

As of April 10, the Robert Koch Institute no longer declares risk areas as the entire globe is now infected by the virus. An infection risk exists in Germany as well as in a vast number of regions elsewhere. The Federal Foreign Office in Germany has therefore issued a global travel warning, which is still in effect at the present time. 

However, the Federal Foreign Office has meanwhile appeased the strict global travel warning and exempted some of the continental European countries. A current overview of the recent declarations of the Foreign Federal Office can be found here: 

At MPQ, all international business trips remain ineligible for approval. Booked trips should be cancelled. For exemptions please consult your direct supervisor. 

Business trips inside Germany should be reduced to an absolute minimum. If nonetheless travelling can't be avoided, company vehicles are available to use. In this case please contact the the administration secretariat, Mrs Schmidt.

Returning from Vacation

Before returning from your holidays, inform yourself whether the area you spent your time has become a risk area. In that case, you will have to stay at home in quarantine for 14 days. We expect that in the near future all people returning from risk areas will probably have the chance to do a COVID-19-test, maybe these tests might even become mandatory. In any case, all MPQ-employees returning from risk areas must take a test. In case, it is negative you will be able to return to work earlier.

Those who have not been in risk areas are still asked to stay at home for a few days and work from there. In case, you show symptoms of a cold after your vacation, get tested for COVID-19 immediately, and only return to work after your test was negative.

Corona tests

For all employees or longer term guests who need testing but do not have a GP or permanent residency in Munich, we recommend the following proceeding:

- Get in touch with the patient service of the Kassenärztlichen Bundesvereinigung (National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians) under the following phone number: 116117 (without predial)

- Check into a hospital

- Check into a test center, which you can find in this list: 

But please be aware, there are center in this list, for which you need a letter of referral. The test center at the Theresienwiese requires an online booking up front:

Here you can find a list of doctors who have specialised on Corona testing. Appointments need to be made individually.

Current Information released by the Max Planck Society (MPG) for all returning from Vacation (Status August 13, 2020 / 3:15)

Protecting the health of its employees is of the utmost importance to the Max Planck Society. This also includes showing consideration for each other by adhering to the applicable rules of hygiene and social distancing.  

From August 8, 2020 onwards, in order not to endanger the health of colleagues, persons returning from a private journey from a risk area (basis is the current country list of the Robert Koch Institute at the time of entry –  see link box on the right) will have to take a COVID-19 test, regardless of which means of transport they used to enter Germany.

If a negative COVID-19 test is available on entry, which is no more than 48 hours old and was carried out according to a recognised procedure, no self-isolation is required. Individuals still waiting for the result of their tests must self-isolate until the results are available. 

In addition, individual federal states may impose more far-reaching conditions (for an overview, see the link box on the right within the MAX-news). 

Persons who decide to make a private trip to an area officially recognized as risk area must consider further consequences – after their return in addition to the obligatory self-isolation or COVID-19 test. If, for example, work cannot be carried out from home, the entitlement to remuneration is also cancelled for the period of obligatory self-isolation. In any case, working from home must be agreed upon with the employer beforehand; there is no entitlement to work on a remote basis from home.

If employees become ill shortly after they were in a risk area with COVID-19, the entitlement to continued remuneration in the event of illness (Continued Remuneration Act) perchance may be waived - depending on how they behaved. It is therefore all the more important to comply with the applicable infection prevention measures in the respective country. In addition, sick individuals are obliged to cooperate in clarifying the share of their own culpability. In other words, they must provide appropriate information to their employer.  

In the current exceptional situation, and particularly for the protection of the entire workforce, the employer may ask whether employees are returning from a risk area and, if so, whether they can present a negative test. This also applies to all external persons who come to an MPI or to the Administrative Headquarters (updated document External company access - see link box on the right).

The MPIs are urgently requested to ensure (and, if necessary, check) that these specifications are observed.

Attendance at the institute and home office

Presence at the institute will increase again over the course of the coming weeks. Researchers are now free to return to their workplace if they wish to do so, especially all members from the Theory group who have mainly worked from home. Offices, however, should continue to be occupied only by one person at a time. To avoid overcrowding, offices with more than one employee booked in shall alternate by taking turns. This rule applies to all areas of the institute. In the labs, one person per 10qm² is allowed. 

Administration, Facilities and Workshop continue to work in rotating teams. Thereby close attention needs to be paid to not overcrowd offices with more than one person, keep the minimum distance of two meters to keep the risks of infection as low as possible.

The options to work from home will continue to be handled with great flexibility. Please contact your direct supervisor. If you have technical difficulties or questions please get in touch with the IT department, which will remain staffed with a minimum of one person on site. 

The option to work from home applies especially to those colleagues who are considered a "risk group" and therefore need special protection. According to the Robert Koch Institute, these are in particular older people and those with certain pre-existing conditions and suppressed immune systems. The President of the MPG has therefore decided that all employees who belong to one of these risk groups will generally be granted home office status on request, provided that they are known to belong to the health risk groups and/or are at least 60 years old. 

Psychological support

The Corona pandemic is an extraordinary situation that among other things causes psychological distress. The danger of infection from a novel virus and the racing and unpredictable dynamic of developments, both leading to immense limitations in personal freedom may implicate personal insecurities and pose challenges to the human psyche. We wish to support our employees and help to reduce and process any distress they may perceive. Therefore, we emphasize the possibility to make use of psychological guidance from our coach Shadi Nouyan. Meetings with her can be conducted without any risks of infection via phone or video. Every employee is free to arrange a meeting in complete anonymity and independence of the institute. All meetings are under high confidentiality between employee and coach, and financially covered by the institute.   

Contact details are as followed:

Shadi Nouyan 

training, beratung und coaching

Lillweg 8 - 80939 München                                                   

phone      + 49 (0) 89  - 123 084 02

mobile  + 49 (0) 179 - 11 55 618

If you feel like learning more about the topic, here are some initial sources we can recommend:

Harvard University:

CNN Health:

World Health Organization (WHO):

German Federal Ministry for Health:


Due to the current closing of day nurseries and schools, many households experience difficulties in child care. The following options are available at the moment:

  • Take annual leave
  • Move to Home Office
  • Reduce overhours or move working hours to later or earlier in the day
  • Take unpaud leave

In all those cases, where parents can't work from home and also have no other option for child care then to stay home themselves, the Max Planck Society is able to offer a special solution. In this case, is it possible to exempt employees from their work whilst maintaining payment. Please get in touch with your supervisor in case you need to make use of this option. 

Unfortunately, due to infection protection and safety reasons it is currently not possible to bring children to the institute. Although the buildings meet the highest standards of occupational safety, but are not designed for the safety of children. The family office is also currently closed.

Events and meetings

Until further notice, all conferences and symposia at MPQ must be cancelled, the Photonlab (students' lab) also remains closed, and there won't be any external visitor tours.

Language course are allowed to resume in the Herbert Walther lecture hall with a maximum of ten attendants with a minumum distance of two metres and protective face masks. 

The colloquia this summer semester will only be held online. For every lecture a new link will be provided. As always there will be time for questions after every talk.

Yoga classes are also allowed to resume if they comply with the current hygiene regulations. The gym and the showers on the other side remain closed until further notice. As soon as the situation allows us to reopen the showers we will implement a concept of a  time stretch in between individual usages. 

Code of conduct in the institute

The corona virus Sars-Cov-2 is highly contagious. It is therefore particularly important to follow hygiene measures very closely. We have distributed disinfectants throughout the institute. A dispenser for hand disinfection is available in the entrance area, which should be used with every entrance to the institute. Recommendations on best practice hygiene measures are shown in the infographic and should be followed closely. Please wash you hands every time you enter or leave a lab or office, before touching any items, and after every coughing and sneezing. Try to avoid touching your face. On top of that we ask you to use desinfectants to clean surfaces and keyboards wherever possible. 

Cover nose and mouth: Since April 28, 2020, a general obligation to cover mouth and nose inside the Institute is in place. This rule applies to all areas of the institute, including work in the laboratories, except when people are alone in laboratories and offices. The mask may only be taken off then and during meals. We provide all employees with a mask, which they can pick up at the gate in the morning. Always disinfect your hands before touching and putting on a mask. We currently have enough masks in stock to provide employees at the institute with a new mask every day. Nevertheless, we welcome employees bringing their own masks.

We are now also able to provide individual mouth-nose-protection, which can be collected in the goods receiving department. The masks need to be assembled before they can be put on. Therefore they allow individual adaption to different face forms. The masks are at disposal from now on in units of five or one. A detailed instruction on how to set up the mask can be found here:

Important note: Don't misjudge the safety of masks. The virus can still be transmitted if the distance rules are no longer observed. For maximum protection, keep your distance and wear masks.

Distance regulations: Keep your distance to other people, at least 1.5 metres better two metres if you are talking to people. This applies especially to the lunch breaks on the terrace, when you are not wearing a mask. It is perfectly okay and desired to keep others at a distance during meetings! This is our new rule of politeness in dealing with each other. You should refrain from "shaking hands" when greeting people.

Meetings: Meetings are allowed with a maximum of ten people when complying to the current hygiene and safety regulations.

Cafeteria operation/lunch break: The canteen is equipped in such a way that a lunch break will be possible there while keeping a safety distance of two meters. Markings on the floor and on the tables also indicate the required distances. Please make sure you adhere to these guidelines. Cutlery will only be handed out by canteen staff in compliance with hygiene regulations. Please spread out for lunch over the institute, especially in the communication zone and in the small meeting room next to the Herbert-Walther lecture hall or use the opportunity to eat at your workplace. Use the disinfection facilities in front of the canteen before each meal.

N95-masks: To provide our employees with the best possible protection, the head of the institute ordered so-called N95 masks for all those who have to commute to work using public transportation. Those masks offer the wearer a more effective protection, since they actually filter particles out of the surrounding air. So, if you travel to work by public transport, you can get one of those masks in Mr. Piehlers secretary’s office, as long as the supplies last. As soon as more masks arrive, we will let you know. 


All visits from guests and researchers are to be postponed until further notice. For exemptions please talk to your supervisor.

It is now allowed to invite job applicants who are very far in the recruitment process and highly in demand to come and visit the institute.

Symptoms of illness

All people who experience symptoms of illness or a feeling of discomfort typical of a cold are encouraged to stay at home and should either call in sick, or if less drastic, work from home. In case of a flu-like illness, a sick note must be made. In order not to increase the risk of infection in medical practices, the first medical consultation should be made via phone. In any of those cases the institute should stay informed about  further developments and courses of illness. Contacts are listed on the right.

If any acute symptoms occur during working hours or whilst being present at MPQ, the institute is to be informed immediately. For these purposes an emergency room (C 2.69) has been set upwhere employees can withdraw and, if necessary, put on protective masks until further action, such as transport at home or medical consultation have been taken.

In order to keep track on how many people are currently either sick, in (self) quarantine and/or home office, we ask the team assistants to collect this information and submit it on a weekly basis (every Friday) to the head of administration. 

Informing the Institute

Please contact the institute immediately if any of the above cases eventuates. The same holds if you feel unsure about any of the situations above and require assistance. The institute is also to be kept informed on a regular basis on any cases of illness and/or abstinence from the workplace.


Here you can find all information for employees, researchers and guests of the Max Planck Society in greater detail and always up-to-date. more

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View