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Face masks become mandatory in all shops and on public transport in Germany

Everyone in Germany has to wear a face mask while travelling on public transport. And from Wednesday, masks must be worn in all retail outlets, too.

Face masks become mandatory in all shops and on public transport in Germany
A man wearing a mask while shopping in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Berlin became the last state to extend the obligation to wear a mask in shops. Previously, the order was only for public transport, and masks were strongly recommended for shoppers.

State interior minister Andreas Geisel said it was for the “protection of workers in supermarkets and shops”.

It means that from Wednesday April 29th, onwards, everyone in Germany – around 83 million people – will have to wear a covering over their mouth and nose when shopping as well as while travelling on public transport in a bid to control the coronavirus spread.

READ ALSO: From schools to face masks: What's changing in Germany from Monday?

The World Health Organization initially said masks should only be worn by medical workers and carers but the face coverings are now widely seen as key to gradually reopening societies as the world learns to live with  the pandemic.

With its new rules, Germany follows in the footsteps of a string of European countries where mask-wearing is now compulsory, including Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.

People in Germany are free to choose which type of mask to wear, from disposable ones to self-made cloth versions, and many states have said they will also accept scarves and bandanas.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously “strongly recommended” wearing masks in public.

However, federal states decided to make the rules stricter. There are some regional differences, with some regions having an expanded list of requirements for wearing a mask.

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Member comments

  1. All well and good making this happen in the Supermarkets, but in my area of the NRW, just go to any corner shop, Pizza or Kebab place, and people are in and out, hanging, no masks, eating within 50 meters…
    Until the authorities start enforcing & fineing people in places like that, it’s all going to kick off again starting from these places

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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