Berlin (dpa) – More than two years after the start of the corona pandemic, most daily government restrictions in large parts of Germany have ended. Despite the still high number of infections, the new national legal framework has provided only a few general protective measures since Sunday.
In almost all federal states, it is still possible to wear masks, for example in doctors’ surgeries, nursing homes, clinics, buses and trains, as well as tests in schools, for example. Masks are still mandatory across the country on long-distance trains and planes. Regardless of state rules, businesses, stores and other facilities may continue to maintain specifications such as mask requirements.
The traffic light coalition had pushed for an extensive end to measures to contain the corona against protests from federal states, among others. The federal government justifies this by saying that there is no national overload of the health system and that in the event of an emergency, stricter rules can be enacted at the regional level.
Under the amended Infection Protection Act, many conditions expired on Sunday evening that millions of people had been accustomed to for months – including access only for the vaccinated, recovered and tested (3G) or for the vaccinated and recovered (2G). General mask requirements when shopping or in schools are now mostly over.
Other requirements initially only apply to Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. For now, the two countries are the only ones using the Infection Protection Act’s so-called hot spot rule. It allows for additional specifications if the state legislature determines a critical regional situation for clinics. The other Länder do not use it for the moment and complain that the legal criteria of federal law are too uncertain. It’s initially valid until September 23, and then a follow-up settlement could follow in the fall.
Key points at a glance
“Basic protection”: Countries can still order in general…
• Obligations to wear FFP2 masks or medical masks in establishments for people at risk, such as clinics, nursing homes and surgeries, as well as in community establishments, for example for asylum seekers.
• Masks are mandatory on local public transport with buses and trains.
• Mandatory screening in establishments for persons at risk, such as clinics and nursing homes, as well as in schools and daycare centres.
“Hotspots”: In addition, federal states can impose restrictions – but only if the state parliament “determines the specific risk of a dynamically spreading infection situation” in a “regional authority to be specifically named”. This can include a municipality, a region or ultimately an entire country. Possible are…
• Obligations to wear FFP2 masks or medical masks in other areas – including schools.
• Distancing requirements of 1.50 meters in public space, in particular in interior spaces accessible to the public.
• Access rules with certificates only for vaccinated and recovered (2G) or for vaccinated, recovered and tested (3G).
• the obligation to draw up hygiene concepts.
The thresholds above which a region is a hotspot are not quantified in the law. The general prerequisite is either that a dangerous variant of the virus is circulating there – or that there is a risk of overloading the capacity of the clinic due to a particularly high number of cases.
People willing to wear masks voluntarily
This weekend there are therefore Sundays open for sale with different conditions: in Hamburg with mask obligation, in North Rhine-Westphalia without yet for the first time. According to an Insa survey, 63% of German citizens want to voluntarily continue to wear mouth and nose protection when shopping after the end of the mask obligation.
However, 29% of respondents said they did not want to. Eight percent of respondents did not want to commit to “Bild am Sonntag” according to a representative survey by the opinion institute Insa.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220403-99-774862/2