Corona measures: New rules from 11 May

(according to email from the Managing Director, the workers' council, and the crisis management team)

Dear all,

in the last two weeks, the federal and state governments have relaxed some of the current corona measures and decreed a few new rules. Accordingly, MPS will also adapt its regulations to this situation and initiate a very gradual transition to a somewhat stronger presence at the Institute while maintaining extensive security measures. This will only be possible very carefully and slowly, in line with the policy of the Max Planck Society, and thus it is to be expected that many months will pass before everything is back to normal.

In principle, the following applies:

  • Every employee who has until now worked from home (as agreed with his or her supervisor) and who can continue to work from home in a meaningful and efficient way should continue to do so.
  • Only the employees whose presence is necessary to maintain general operations or to continue important space projects, or employees who cannot work meaningfully from home should work regularly at the Institute.

As before, your supervisor will clarify (or has already clarified) with you whether you work regularly at the Institute or whether you work from home.

Those who work regularly from home will be allowed to come to the Institute occasionally to take care of urgent matters from Monday, May 11th. This may be the case, if the limitations of your IT environment at home do not allow important actions, if you need equipment that is only available at the institute, if you need to print out a large amount of documents, etc. The stay at the institute should only be as long as necessary for the completion of the respective tasks. Any stay at the institute that goes beyond this should be coordinated with the supervisor and, if necessary, the crisis team.

In addition, it must be ensured that not too many people are present in each operational unit at the same time. More detailed information regarding this can be found in the list of new measures and rules below.

For parents of school children and younger children, working from home is a special challenge that will probably continue at least until the summer holidays. Supervisors are encouraged to allow these parents to work from home for as long as they need it for childcare. The prerequisite is, of course, that this does not have any unacceptable effects on the professional duties. Please consult with your supervisor.

As before, the highest goal is to prevent the corona virus from spreading and to protect you from infection. This requires a number of measures and rules for working on site at the Institute, which must be strictly observed. Therefore, please read this document carefully and completely! If you have any questions, and do not find an answer in the FAQs (, then please contact the crisis team at The crisis team is also happy to receive suggestions, ideas, and concerns at the same e-mail address.

For further medical questions about the coronavirus, the institute’s doctor, Dr. Späth, can be contacted via his video consultation. Information on how to reach Dr. Späth and on possible assistance in the event of mental stress caused by the corona crisis can be found in the attached information from Dr. Späth.

The following points are important in the coming weeks and months:

  1. As before, there are a number of circumstances under which you may not enter the Institute. You can find a complete overview here:
  2. Should you notice during your presence at the Institute early symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), then you are requested to leave the Institute immediately and stay at home until the symptoms have been clarified by a doctor.
  3. If you have tested positive for the corona virus and have been at the Institute in the two weeks before, then inform the crisis team immediately, in addition to the normal notification of illness to the personnel department. This information will be treated confidentially.
  4. In this case, you will also be asked to name all persons, with whom you were in close contact (i.e. a contact with an increased risk of infection) at the Institute in the previous days. It may therefore be useful to make daily a list of these persons.
  5. If possible, please avoid public transport. Otherwise, please be sure to wear a mask there.
  6. External visitors, guests, and contractors are still not allowed to enter the institute. Exceptions are only possible for urgent repair and maintenance work. Further exceptions require the approval of the crisis team. Please contact
  7. Business trips are not allowed as a general rule. Exceptions require the approval of the crisis team.
  8. The current situation makes it necessary to organize the work and the stay at the Institute differently in many areas and to adapt personal behavior. In the following you will therefore find a list of measures and rules which will apply at the Institute from 11 May onwards. Some of these are rules have already been in place over the past weeks, others are new rules.
  9. If you notice that someone does not comply with the rules, you may inform the person in a friendly manner. However, please make sure that you always treat each other with respect. In case of serious violations of the regulations, please inform the crisis team. If you find that regulations are not practicable or not reasonable, we also ask you to inform the crisis team.

Behavior in the institute and in the personal working area

  • When you arrive at the institute, please disinfect your hands thoroughly. Dispensers with disinfectant are located at all entrances (may be delayed by a few more days due to delivery problems).
  • Always keep the necessary minimum distance of two meters from all other persons in the institute. (When this is not possible, special rules apply. See: Working in the laboratory/workshop)
  • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day or, if this is not possible, disinfect them.
  • Please wear a simple mask as soon as you are outside your office or lab workplace, or if you meet with another person within your office. This can be a (e.g. self-sewn) fabric mask, which you can bring from home. However, it should be made according to the current, well-established instructions. Please do not use "exotic" or very simple solutions (such as scarves or neckerchiefs). If you do not have such a mask, disposable masks will be made available to you. Masks are available near the reception. If you do not have a mask with you when you arrive at the institute, please use the main entrance only and (after disinfecting your hands) pick up a mask near the reception. Only if you already have a mask with you, you may use the other entrances. Please carefully read the (attached) information sheet on the correct use of masks.
  • In the individual areas of the institute, a certain maximum number of persons should not be exceeded at any time. Therefore, all employees are divided into groups. These are the central units (administration, mechanics, laboratory + building services, computer center), each of the three corridors in BT2 (roughly corresponding to the three scientific departments, but with exceptions), the SWI and SUNRISE projects, and the engineers and technicians of the departments in BT3. These individual groups plan their presence within the group in advance, so that if possible no more than a certain percentage of the group members are present at the institute at the same time. The percentage can be different for the individual groups. For example, for the scientists, there should not be more than 10 people per corridor at the same time in each of the three corridors in BT2. For other groups such as the projects, the proportion will typically be significantly higher. All employees will be informed separately to which group they belong and how the planning within the group is carried out. For some of the groups such measures have already been in place for some time.
  • Only one person per room is allowed in each office and laboratory workplace. If you work in an office with two or more people: Please coordinate your attendance times with your room colleagues so that the room is only used by one person at a time (e.g. alternating home office, shifted working hours, etc.). Should this not be possible for compelling reasons, please inform your supervisor(s) and the crisis team. If required, additional protective measures (e.g. compulsory masks, partitions, etc.) must then be taken.
  • In the Open Space (in BT2 E2/E3/E4) each group of 4 tables may only be occupied by one person at a time. Avoid using shared telephones etc.
  • Ventilate your office/workstation extensively if the room does not have an automatic ventilation system (but remember to close the windows when leaving the institute).
  • Keep personal meetings and discussions with colleagues to a minimum. It is better to use the telephone and the possibility of telephone and video conferences. Restrict your ways around the institute to what is absolutely necessary. Please do not "wander“ around the institute.
  • Meetings in your own office are only allowed with one other person. A distance of 2 m must be observed (e.g. by having a conversation from the open door) and a mask must be worn. A distance of 2 m is also to be maintained for meetings in the meeting zones and masks are to be worn. Preferably use the seminar rooms for meetings. See: General Infrastructure.
  • You are required to document on a daily basis when you entered and left the Institute. For this purpose, please write the following two e-mails to
    1. Directly after your arrival at the Institute, an e-mail with "arrival" in the subject line.
    2. Shortly before leaving the institute, an e-mail with the "departure" in the subject line.
    3. If you forgot to send an e-mail, it can be sent later. But then you have to enter the date and time in the subject line, i.e. "arrival: DD.MM-HH:MM" or "departure: DD.MM-HH:MM".
    4. If you do not have the possibility to send an e-mail each time you come and go, please talk to your supervisor to find an individual solution how to document arrival and departure.
    5. Your e-mails will only be read in the event of a corona infection, in order to then trace possible ways of infection. A member of the crisis team and a member of the workers’ council will read the e-mails together.
  • If you only work for a few hours at the institute and the rest of the day at home, please do not use the time recording terminal. In this case you will automatically be credited with the full daily working time. The time recording terminal may only be used on the days during which you intend to spend your regular working hours at the institute.

General infrastructure

  • Some staircases are quite narrow and may only be used as "one-way streets". Up from level 1 the staircases on the south (front) side of BT2 and BT3 may only be used for ascent, the staircases on the north (back) side of the institute only for descent. This is indicated by signs on site. For many people it is therefore advisable to enter the institute through the main entrance, especially since the masks are also handed out there. In addition, the corridor from the west entrance to the front in BT2 E1 is designated as a one-way street, as it is relatively narrow. The one-way street regulations of course do NOT apply in case of emergency or fire!
  • The elevators should not be used if possible. If this is necessary in exceptional cases, please be alone in the the elevator.
  • Where it is reasonable and possible, some doors are permanently opened so that the door handles do not have to be used. Please leave these doors open.
  • When using the washrooms, please ensure that there are only as many people in the washrooms as are necessary to comply with the rules of distance. If in doubt, please turn back and try again at a later time. For the washrooms of the departments (BT2 E2-E4) only one person is allowed at a time. For these washrooms a sign at the entrance indicates if the room is already occupied.
  • The tea/coffee kitchens may only be used by one person at a time.
  • The seminar rooms are subject to a maximum occupancy. In the seminar rooms C, D and G a maximum of 3 persons may stay at the same time. In the seminar rooms A/B and E/F a maximum of 8 persons may stay. A maximum of 6 persons may stay in seminar room H, a maximum of 2 persons in seminar room I, and a maximum of 20 persons in the auditorium. Meetings with more than 10 persons require the approval of the crisis team.
  • The canteen is expected to resume limited operations in the near future. You will receive the exact date and detailed information in good time before the canteen opens.
  • Mail will be collected by the same persons as before the corona pandemic. These persons will bring the mail to the respective department (typically once per week) or operational unit. There the mail is distributed into individual compartments (e.g. trays stacked one on top of the other or similar solution), which are set up in an openly accessible place.

Work in laboratories, clean rooms, and workshops

  • Work surfaces or materials should not be used by more than one person. If it cannot be avoided to share materials or surfaces, disposable gloves should be worn. The work surfaces or materials must be cleaned or disinfected daily after completion of the work.
  • For work where it is not possible to maintain the minimum distance (e.g. certain work in the clean rooms or in the workshop), masks must be used.
  • Only one person at a time is allowed in the personnel airlocks ISO 4, 5, 6.
  • In the main personnel airlock up to 3 persons may stay at the same time, observing the minimum distance (1 person in the entrance area, 1 person in the changing room, 1 person behind the sitover in the clean area).

Best wishes,

Laurent Gizon, Managing Director
Fred Goesmann, Chair of Workers Council
The Crisis team

Go to Editor View