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.
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.
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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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