Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) – Go to the buffet – if you wish, without a mask: After two good years of the pandemic, the old normality could be seen again on Sunday in the cafes and restaurants of North Rhine-Westphalia. The reason: the obligation to wear a mask in public interiors no longer applies. Access restrictions previously established by the state 3G (vaccinated, recovered or tested) and 2Gplus (vaccinated, recovered, no longer tested or boosted) have also been removed.
This has become visible in restaurants in Düsseldorf, for example. Restaurateur Kerstin Rapp-Schwan told the German Press Agency that customers are no longer allowed to wear a mask throughout the restaurant. The reactions were different. “Some are relieved, others haven’t even noticed.” But there was also some joy expressed.
However, there is no requirement for restaurants to lift all rules introduced during the pandemic. Restaurateurs can also maintain restrictions within the framework of their freedom of enterprise and their domiciliary rights. Several politicians, including NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU), have also called on people to voluntarily continue to wear masks in public interiors.
According to the NRW Ministry of Health, the mask requirement only remains in a few areas such as local public transport – i.e. travel by bus and train. It continues to apply in medical establishments such as doctors’ surgeries and hospitals as well as in nursing homes to give special protection to the elderly and previously ill. Wearing a mask is also compulsory in public establishments intended to accommodate a large number of people, such as accommodation for refugees, collective accommodation for the homeless and judicial institutions.
However, shopping is possible without a mask. However, there were still a number of masks to be seen where shops were already open on Sunday. Here is what a dpa journalist reported on a shopping Sunday in Gelsenkirchen: Many people continued to wear mouth and nose protection – not only in shops, but in some cases also on the street.
The rate of new corona infections in North Rhine-Westphalia is still quite high, but the trend is falling. On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded an incidence of 1214.7 – after 1247.9 the day before and 1405.2 a week earlier. The value describes the number of new corona infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants.
According to the reported data, the incidence in two districts was still above 2000: in the district of Minden-Lübbecke (2487.2) and in the district of Borken (2472.2). According to the RKI, however, fewer and fewer health authorities are reporting their data on weekends. Daily fluctuations should therefore not be overestimated, especially at weekends and at the start of the week.
The so-called incidence of hospitalization was given at 6.73 on Sunday – after 7.08 on Saturday. The index shows the number of people infected with corona admitted to clinics per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days.
Classes in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia without the obligation to wear a mask will also start on Monday. After many weeks, wearing a face mask in class was last compulsory last Friday.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220403-99-779883/3