Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



COVID-19, Germany, Bavaria, public health policies, lockdown, federal, sub- national


Over the course of the pandemic, Germany’s strong federal system required explicit coordination and cooperation between the federal and state governments. Before any substantial outbreak struck Germany in March, the German strategy to combat the disease was to contact trace and rely on state and local governments to stop the spread. As cases rose and the country moved into the first wave time period, COVID-19 restrictions primarily came from the national government as consented to by the states. For each new mandate released, the wording was unanimously agreed upon by all 16 federal state leaders and Chancellor Merkel. When cases started to recede and the country moved into the recovery phase, individual states became the main deciding actors for loosening and re-tightening the restrictions.