Of the 52 percent of Germans who told an INSA poll that they would keep wearing masks, 79 percent said they intended to do so on public transport, 76 percent in shops, and 66 percent on long-distance trains. Around a fifth said they’d keep wearing masks in restaurants and at the office.
Four in ten respondents said that they would stop wearing masks as soon as the mandates are lifted.
Currently mask wearing counts as one of the “basic measures” that will stay in place after most other rules are lifted on March 20th. No time frame has yet been set out for ending mask wearing.
The polling results came as signs of disunity in the German government over when to lift mask mandates emerged over the weekend.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrats (SPD) favour an indefinite extension of mask mandates.
“We must have measures in place that no longer massively interfere with individual lives. Masks, especially FFP2 masks, seems to be a proven means of preventing contagion in public spaces,” SPD Bundestag leader Rolf Mützenich told the Funke Mediengruppe on Sunday.
The Green party, a junior partner in the federal government, also favour an extension of mask mandates.
“I would welcome it if masks were still worn in schools – and elsewhere,” Family Minister Anne Spiegel of the Greens told Bild newspaper on Sunday.
But the third member of the government, the Free Democrats, are wrestling with themselves over whether mask wearing should still be imposed by the state.
“Where and to what extent one wears a mask in everyday life should be the personal responsibility of each individual,” said Free Democrat health spokeswoman Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus.
“It is especially important that children are able to go about their daily lives without masks,” she added.
Justice Minister Marco Buschmann of the Free Democrats, told the Rheinische Post that mask wearing counts as a measure with “high effectiveness and a low intensity” and a continuation of the mandate is thus “conceivable at the moment.”