As the lockdown measures begin to ease in Germany and some shops reopen, the country's 16 states have been debating how they will move forward in the next phase of the coronavirus crisis.
In Bavaria – the region with the most Covid-19 cases in Germany – state leader Söder, of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats' sister party, the CSU, said Monday that masks covering the nose and mouth will be made mandatory in shops and on public transport in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.
All types of masks are allowed in the southern state, including homemade ones. Other types of face coverings such as scarves are also acceptable as long as they cover the nose and mouth.
The masks need to be cleaned regularly.
As of Monday morning, Germany had over 145,700 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins university. Bavaria is the country's worst-hit state, with over 37,800 confirmed cases.
It follows the decisions of the two eastern German states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which both announced last week that a mask obligation would be in force.
Residents in Saxony have to wear masks from Monday April 20th. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, this obligation applies from April 27th.
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The eastern city of Jena became the first city in Germany to introduce mandatory masks at the beginning of April. A handful of other individual cities, such as Hanau in Hesse, have followed suit.
On April 15th Chancellor Angela Merkel stopped short of a nationwide order and instead strongly recommended that people wear protective masks on public transport and when shopping.