“Vaccinated people should be allowed to exercise their basic rights again,” Maas told Bild am Sonntag newspaper over the weekend.
“It has not yet been conclusively clarified to what extent vaccinated people can infect others,” he said. “What is clear, however, is that a vaccinated person will no longer take a respirator away from anyone else. This removes at least one central reason for restricting basic rights.”
Maas said it was important to consider the needs of shuttered restaurants, cinemas, theatres and museums.
“They have a right to reopen their businesses at some point, if there is a possibility to do so,” he said. “And if more and more people are vaccinated, there will be a chance. If the only people in the restaurant or cinema are vaccinated they can no longer endanger one other.”
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The German government has so far rejected the idea of restoring certain freedoms for vaccinated people, pointing out that it is still unclear whether they are infectious or not.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has warned against giving privileges to the vaccinated, saying that it would lead to a dangerous split in society.
Maas, who used to be justice minister, disagreed: “Yes, this will lead to inequalities for a transitional period. But as long as there is a sound reason for it, it is constitutionally justifiable.”
Only around one million people in Germany have been vaccinated so far, which corresponds to slightly over one percent of the population. Most of the people who have so far been vaccinated are very old people or in need of care, as well as medical staff and caregivers.