ZMT Management in times of Corona: Dr. Werner Ekau (Acting Scientific Director) and Dr. Nicolas Dittert (Managing Director) | Photo: Jan Meier, ZMT

It is the task of all of us to contain infection routes and prevent new infections. The so-called cougingh-sneezing etiquette and frequent, thorough hand-washing are two essential principles of conduct. Keeping physical distance, maintaining hygenie and wearing masks when close to others are equally important.

The virus is excreted at a very early stage and is very easily transmitted by droplet infection, which can be avoided. It is the task of all of us to contain infection routes and prevent new infections.

How can I stay up-to-date?

We ask you to keep up-to-date with the latest information via relevant websites (see box).

In case of uncertainties about an infection or the measures to be taken, special advice is given by the hotline of the Federal Ministry of Health on Tel: 030 - 346 465 100.

In the state of Bremen you can obtain information about the corona virus by calling Tel: 0421 - 115. In addition, continuous information is provided on the website of the Bremen Senator for Health Women and Consumer Protection as well as the Department of Public Health Bremen (Gesundheitsamt Bremen).


Special Email for ZMT Staff

To reach the directors, the head of the administration, and the persons who are in charge of the formal and organisational matters of home office, special leave, sick leave, official contact points etc. in one email, we have installed the new email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We all read the messages that go to this address. Phones are redirected to mobile phones wherever possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us.


9 October 2020 | UPDATE | Rules as Bremen is declared risk area, Senator of Finance Circular


Bremen is now a risk area.

I am really thankful to everyone who has behaved in such a disciplined manner over the past weeks and months!

All rules continue to apply:

(1) Comply with the BMAS Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines:

  • Keep your distance;
  • Observe hygiene;
  • Wear an everyday mask (mouth and nose cover).

(2) Aerate the room in which you work regularly and frequently.

(3) If you do not have to travel, do not travel. Domestic and foreign travel restrictions must be observed.

(4) (new) To counteract the now increased risk of infection: From now on wear an everyday mask (mouth and nose cover) in the corridors and stairs as well as in toilets and elevators.

(5) Official circular no. A-46/2020 "SARS-CoV-2 (Corona virus); Senator of Finance circular no. 5m/2020 of 8 October 2020

The new or updated passages are highlighted in yellow:

  • Obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover, page 2
  • Travel return from risk areas, page 4
  • Withdrawal of rest leave in case of quarantine ordered by doctors or
    states' authorities, page 8

Best regards and stay healthy!

Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Managing Director


6 October 2020 | UPDATE | Ventilation of rooms

The Federal Government advises ventilation in line with infection control.

According to § 4 No. 1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the aim is to prevent or minimise health hazards from SARS-CoV-2 infections as far as possible through proper ventilation of building interiors.

A meeting room should be ventilated in principle every 20 minutes for 3 minutes in winter, 5 minutes in spring/autumn and 10 minutes in summer. The Federal Environment Agency also recommends additional ventilation after sneezing, coughing or the like.

All my best regards,
Dr. Nicholas Dittert, Managing Director


18 September 2020 | UPDATE | SARS-CoV-2 Health and Safety Regulations, legal assessment by the State of Bremen 

Three weeks ago we announced a legal assessment of the state of Bremen regarding COVID/Corona. These are updated regularly by the state. As you can or have learned from different sources (e.g. RKI website), the situation of new infections has worsened. Today you will receive the 12th update from September 18, 2020 with adapted rules of conduct. The changes are marked yellow.

All information has to be considered.

Some aspects are summarized here in extracts and partly very shortened. The complete document should be heeded.

"A person who [...] has had [...] close contact [...] with an infected person [...] is [...] forbidden [...] to leave her/his home or the institution in which s/he lives or to receive visits from persons who do not belong to her/his household during this time, unless the responsible health authority gives its consent to deviating behavior.

"Persons who [...] enter the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen from abroad and who have stayed in a risk area at any time within 14 days prior to entry are obliged to go directly to their own home or other suitable accommodation immediately after entry and to keep themselves constantly secluded there for a period of 14 days after entry, unless the competent public health authority gives its consent to deviating behaviour; this also applies to persons who have first entered another country of the Federal Republic of Germany. The [...] named persons are not permitted to receive visits from persons who do not belong to their household during this period. [...]"

"The persons [...] named are obliged to contact the competent local police authority in the municipality of Bremen and the competent public health department in the municipality of Bremerhaven without delay and to point out the existence of the aforementioned prerequisites. Furthermore, the persons recorded are obliged to contact a doctor immediately if symptoms occur which indicate an illness with Covid-19 [...].

"Employees [...] are [...] also obliged to perform their work during quarantine.

"If employees return late from vacation due to the Corona pandemic, [...] employees are referred to the right to claim vacation or leisure time compensation.

"In order to avoid the transmission of the corona virus as far as possible, the respective departments should always select the rooms for discussion rounds in such a way that they allow the participants to sit at the required distance from each other.

If you have questions, please feel free to inquire.

Best regards, stay healthy!

Dr. Werner Ekau, Acting Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicholas Dittert, Managing Director


27 August 2020 | UPDATE |Information on labour and civil service law issues related to the corona virus, legal assessment by the State of Bremen

Two weeks ago we announced the new SARS-CoV-2 health and safety regulations. Today we receive a legal assessment by the State of Bremen, which we summarize for you in the text below and can be found here in the original.

"In summary, it can be said that the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety rules do not contain any major surprises. On the contrary, it can be seen that this occupational safety rule is a concretisation of the topics that have been discussed in the press to date. It can be seen that the keeping physcial distance, ventilation and hygiene are mentioned in particular.

"The communication of rules of conduct is given great attention in the new occupational safety rule. These include, for example, keeping distance, avoiding shaking hands and the coughing-sneezing etiquette. In addition, the following basic protective measures are also included:

  • Reduction of personal contacts, e.g. through remote communication, rolling fixed teams and home office
  • New arrangement of workstations with sufficient distance between employees
  • the risk of infection should be avoided by frequent and intensive ventilation
  • Maintaining the safety distance by barriers and partitions
  • Marking of safe traffic routes through floor markings
  • Sufficient hand washing and hand disinfection stations as well as more frequent cleaning of surfaces than before."

If you have questions, please feel free to inquire.

Best regards and stay healthy!

Dr. Werner Ekau, Acting Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicholas Dittert, Managing Director


14 August 2020 | UPDATE | Continuation of Restricted Regular Operation

The development of the corona pandemic is interpreted very differently. At the same time, the number of infected persons is rising again, and in Germany we have again reached the level of May 2020. In some countries the number of infected persons is alarming, while others are virtually free of infection.

In the meeting of the department leaders yesterday, we therefore decided to stick to our current concept.

As a reminder:
(1-a) those who can work at home, work from home;

(1-b) those who have to work at ZMT work at ZMT - the reasons for this are subject to personal consideration only;

(2-a) the presence at ZMT has to be documented - the responsibility for office stays is borne by the heads of the working groups;

(2-b) the work in the laboratories has to be documented by the laboratory managers;

(3-a) those who do not have to travel, do not travel;

(3-b) those who have to travel must ensure with their business trip application that, according to the criteria of the Federal Foreign Office and the RKI, neither the destination or the destination region nor any stopover is subject to travel restrictions or travel bans;

(4) the BMAS occupational health and safety guidelines and the hygiene regulations shall be respected and implemented in every area of duty.

If you have further questions: anytime!

Best regards, stay healthy and have a nice weekend!

Dr. Werner Ekau, Acting Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicholas Dittert, Managing Director

 

16 June 2020 | UPDATE | Restricted Regular Operation

On the basis of the 9th update of the Circular of the Senator of Finance No. 5 i/2020 dated 11.06.2020 (https://www.transparenz.bremen.de/rundschreiben-72745), we have asked the Senator of Science and Ports, Department 22, for approval for restricted regular operation.

This release is now available and contains the following rules:

- All those who can work at home will do so.

- All those who have to come to ZMT will do so under clearly regulated conditions:

(1) who is at ZMT ensures that the chain of infection at ZMT, which has been successfully interrupted up to now, remains interrupted. Therefore, nobody stays at the ZMT longer than necessary;

(2) Being alone on the premises of ZMT is a source of danger that should not be neglected. Therefore, each person coming to ZMT informs a trusted person about the expected retention time;

(3) who is at ZMT must comply with the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standards (https://www.bmas.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/PDF-Schwerpunkte/sars-cov-2-arbeitsschutzstandard-en.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2);

(4) Rooms smaller than 20 m2 shall be used as individual offices, even if they are equipped for several persons;

(5) Those who are at ZMT follow the hygiene guidelines, especially if a room is used in shift operation (Appendix 1);

(6) the organisation of the room allocation takes place at the level of the working group leaders. They are also responsible for compliance with the rules. At the same time, self-awareness is required.

All our best regards and stay healthy!

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Managing Director


15 June 2020 | UPDATE | Travel

On the basis of the 9th update of the circular letter of the Senator of Finance number 5 i/2020 dated 11.06.2020 (https://www.transparenz.bremen.de/rundschreiben-72745) as well as the partial lifting of the travel warning by the Federal Government, we have asked the Senator for Science and Ports, Department 22, for clearance for business trips.

This release is now available and contains the following rules:

(0) This regulation serves to protect all employees at ZMT and is intended to ensure as far as possible that the chain of infection at ZMT, which has been successfully interrupted up to now, remains interrupted. We ask all employees to treat their own health and the health of others responsibly and ask them to make a prudent decision as to whether travel is unavoidable at this time.

(1) Those who DO NOT HAVE TO travel do not travel.

(2) Travel shall only be approved if it is unavoidable and necessary to maintain the functionality of ZMT.

(3) Travel will only be approved if there is no travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office or the Robert Koch Institute. Travel warnings shall be deemed travel prohibitions. This applies to all travel sections between the start and end of the travel. Travellers shall provide complete proof of the possibility of carrying out the travel BEFORE commencing the business trip independently and in writing.

(4) Anyone who undertakes a private trip to a risk area must inform the immediate work area and supervisors.

(5) During business trips as well as private trips, quarantine regulations are to be followed regardless of travel warnings.

All our best regards,

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Managing Director


4 June 2020 | UPDATE | Extended partial lockdown until 30.6.2020

In close consultation with the Bremen Senator for Science and Ports (Division 22 - Science Planning and Research Promotion), ZMT will continue the partial lockdown until 30.6.2020.

The following units of the ZMT have received approval from Divison 22 for extended emergency operation:

  • Electronics Workshop
  • Mechanical Workshop
  • Facility Management

1 May 2020| UPDATE Extended partial lockdown

 

In response to our explicit request to the Bremen Senator for Science and Ports (Division 22 - Science Planning and Research Promotion) we have now received approval for an extended emergency operation:

As of May 4, 2020, four laboratories of the research infrastructure can switch to extended emergency operation:

  •  The biology laboratory
  •  The chemical laboratory
  •  The Geolab
  •  The Marine Experimental Ecology (MAREE)

 

Laboratory staff will process/measure/etc. samples that scientists need to bring their work to a qualifying completion. This applies to students (Bachelor, Master), doctoral students but also post-docs.

Scientists still work in home office.

As an end of the corona pandemic is not in sight, we can provide scientists with the measurement results of their samples under controlled conditions in a time-prioritized procedure to help them complete final papers, reports, etc. in time.

The extended partial lockdown is to apply from 04 May 2020 and provisionally until 31 May 2020.

All our best regards and stay healthy!

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Managing Director


20 April 2020 | UPDATE | Corona Restrictions at ZMT

The German Chancellor, together with the Ministers of the Länder, decided on Wednesday (15 April 2020) to relax the corona restrictions. These decisions will of course also have an impact on ZMT.

For the time being, nothing will change in the basic regulation: ZMT will remain in emergency operation until 3 May 2020 inclusive.

Business trips to Germany and abroad will still not be permitted.

If you intend to cancel a vacation that has already been applied for and approved, we would like to draw your attention to the corresponding regulation of the Senator of Finance: Cancellation of already approved vacation is – as a general rule – not possible at this time. If you have any questions, please contact Tino Eichler.

We ask all group leaders (WGL / IGL) to offer employees the opportunity to massively reduce overtime hours over the next two weeks and to organise the work accordingly.

At the same time, the legal ordinance on protection against new infections with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Corona Ordinance) of 17 April 2020 of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen applies.

Under strict conditions, the possibility of a presence at the ZMT will be gradually created, probably from 4 May onwards. This step will be implemented with all due caution, as the protection of health remains the top priority.

In the coming week, we, the Directorate, will be discussing with the heads of departments and the works council how to implement the new provisions at the ZMT in practice. It can already be said that access to the buildings of the ZMT will not be generally permitted, but will continue to be very limited. The relevant distance and hygiene regulations must still be observed. Our primary objectives remain the containment of the pandemic and the best possible organisation of operations at the ZMT under the respective circumstances.

We know that for many of you, this time is associated with great challenges.

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Managing Director


 

I. Emergency Mode for Research Institutes and Universities

(1) The State of Bremen has decreed that all research institutes and universities are to be locked down and reduced to emergency mode. This period lasts at least until April 19 or further notice. Closure of institutes will be checked on by the authorities. For ZMT this means: We stick to our measures: Home Office, and only the vital functions of the institute will kept running at the ZMT buildings (also see below II. Instruction to move to Home Office). 
 
(2) Entering ZMT only allowed with special permit
A new regulation is that our colleagues who keep the vital services going for us (and who deserve a great deal of gratitude) need to carry a special permit with them that we have issued for this purpose.

All others cannot enter. If there are specific issues to deal with in this context, please send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

II. Instruction to move to Home Office

The following applies to ZMT (staff, scholarship holders, guests, participants of congresses and conferences etc.):

From Tuesday 16/3/2020, Home Office is the regular working mode. Everybody works from home office, and exceptions are only the persons who are needed for vitally important tasks in the institute. Present will be some staff members from the administration (purchase, finances, human resources), MAREE, and house maintenance. Normal working hours etc. apply to home office, only the place of work is shifted to home during this time.

(3) Emergency staffing of ZMT Administration
The administration does not offer consultation hours from now on. Please communicate all requests via phone or email. The administration has organised an emergency service and partly also works from home office.

(4) Granting of special leave (Sonderurlaub)
All colleagues who have to take care of their children (minors) because of the shutdown of schools and daycares, and who do not have alternatives for their childcare, and who cannot do or not fully do their work in home office, are allowed to take special leave (Sonderurlaub). Please send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In these cases payment of remuneration/pay is continued.

(5) Research work of students and doctoral candidates

To all supervisors of student research, doctoral candidates, and other group members: When ISATEC students or others come back from field work in the next days, they will not be able to treat or store their samples as the labs are closed. The samples cannot be stored in private fridges. Please inform your group members that they have to contact the lab staff to organise a transfer of the samples into cooling storage at ZMT. Please make sure that the samples are labelled: first name, last name, workgroup, email, phone number, requested storage (temperature).

(6) ZMT internal meetings

In accordance with the regulations for working from home office, all meetings at ZMT are suspended.

This counts for:

- palaver
- department meetings
- programme area meetings
- steering group meetings
- AGL
- IGL
- workshops, schools

and the like until further notice. Please use digital options or conference calls for virtual meetings wherever appropriate.

II. Further Regulations for ZMT Staff Members

The following applies to ZMT (staff, scholarship holders, guests, participants of congresses and conferences etc.):

(7) Business Travel
No business trips will take place - business trips that have already been approved are prohibited until further notice. Exceptions are only possible with the special approval of ZMT management.
We recommend using means of communication such as telephone and or video conferencing.

(8) Those who come / return to Bremen from the current risk areas are subject to an isolation measure and not allowed to appear at ZMT for 14 days after leaving these areas.

You can find a list of the current risk areas here https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete.html. This list is updated regularly.

(9) Obligation of employees to inform / authority of the employer to issue instructions

Employees,
- who have been in a country or area at risk, [...] or
- in a country or area with an increased number of cases of infection, or
- in whose close personal surroundings a disease caused by the corona virus is present or suspected...

...must inform the ZMT by telephone or email.

The same applies to intended private trips to the above-mentioned areas.

The employer is also entitled to send home employees who show flu-like symptoms.

(10) Employer's duty of care when dealing with risk groups
Employees at ZMT who are at risk due to a pre-existing illness can obtain information here:
https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogruppen.html
https://www.rki.de/EN/Home/homepage_node.html

We will take protective measures together!

(11) Employees who cannot come to ZMT due to an isolation measure will continue to receive their salary or remuneration unchanged during this period. As far as possible, the tasks under the employment contract are to be carried out at home.

(12) Medical certificate after five calendar days
In order to relieve the burden on medical practices, in cases with flu-like symptoms, a medical certificate is requested from the sixth calendar day onwards only. This regulation shall apply for the time being until the end of 31 March 2020.


Be vigilant about your state of health: Should you develop symptoms, contact your doctor – initially only via telephone – in order to clarify the further steps.

You can also get in touch with our company physician

Betriebsarztzentrum Bremen e.V.
Grünenweg 6
28195 Bremen
Tel. 0421 32277-0

Our company physician: Dr. Christian Broek
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Outside of your doctor’s office hours you can contact the after-hours service of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of the City of Bremen (https://www.kvhb.de/bereitschaftsdienst).

The above measures also apply to people who are in close contact with people affected by an isolation measure (e.g. in a shared household).

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director, and Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Managing Director