Majority of Germans say they want to keep wearing Covid masks

Despite the end of Covid-19 restrictions across most of the country, the majority of people want to keep wearing masks when out shopping, a survey published on Sunday found.

A customer wearing a face mask makes purchases at a German supermarket
The cost of living is cheaper in Germany for some items. Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

According to an Insa poll of 1,000 people published by Bild am Sonntag, 63 percent of residents in Germany would choose to don a mask to go the supermarket even though they are no longer required in most states.

Only 29 percent of respondents said they didn’t want to do this and eight percent of those questioned declined to answer.

Politicians are also split on whether it was right to end restrictions now.

FDP leader Christian Lindner defended the end of Covid-19 measures, telling Bild am Sonntag that restrictions on freedom were “no longer proportionate”.

However, he said that vaccination and Covid-19 tests should remain free.

“The pandemic is not over. That’s why, as Minister of Finance, I will ensure that there are still free tests and vaccinations available.”

But others felt the end of the measures – which expired overnight in most of Germany’s 16 states – had come too soon.

READ ALSO: The ‘hotspot’ states keeping Covid rules as restrictions end across rest of Germany

Chair of the CSU state group Alexander Dobrindt would have liked the mask mandate to have stayed in place, for example, for shopping.

“At a time when the number of infections is very high, it is premature to end almost all protective measures,” he said.

Infection levels have declined in the last few days but remain high. Data from the Robert Koch Institute showed that there were 1,457.9 new infections per 100,000 people on Sunday, down from 1,723.8 a week earlier.

And the head of the Marburger Bund doctors’ union, Susanne Johna, called for people to continue wearing masks indoors.

“Especially in supermarkets and restaurants, masks are still very important to contain infections,” she told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland newsroom on Saturday.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is also in favour of continuing to wear masks in indoor public areas: “The risk of becoming infected has hardly ever been higher than it is now”.

On Deutschlandfunk, Lauterbach referred to the 200 to 300 people who are dying every day from in connection with Covid. “That is not acceptable. That’s one plane crash every day.”

Despite protests from several federal states, the legal basis for the two-week extension of Covid restrictions expired overnight on Saturday and, with it, measures like the ‘G’ Covid entry pass system to get into public places and the mask mandate in shops and restaurants for most of Germany.

Member comments

  1. Is it just me, but the only answers the germans have to this flu 2.0. Is to keep doing what has not worked for the last two years. Insane.

    But don’t worry there might be a new variant by next Thursday and we can lockdown back to safety again. Not that we are free or anything, as business are allowed to discriminate based on what you’re wearing. In the 30’s you were descriminated against if you wore a particular item on clothing. And now, in the 20’s your discriminated against if you don’t. The past doesn’t repeat itself. It ryhms.

  2. So the thing that we were doing to bring down infections, has resulted in record infections, so to bring them down we need to keep doing that thing that has not worked? Trying to wrap my head around this logic.

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Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

With the EU changing its Covid recommendations for flights, there is some confusion around whether people boarding a plane in Germany will still need to wear a mask. Here's what we know so far.

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

As of Monday, the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC no longer recommend mandatory Covid masks in airports and on planes.

However, if masks are compulsory at the point of departure or destination, this should continue to apply in aircraft as well, they say.

So, what does this mean for passengers boarding flights in Germany? At the moment, not very much at all. 

In Germany, the Infection Protection Act still stipulates that masks have to be worn on long-distance trains and planes. Masks are also compulsory on local public transport.

The previous weeks have seen Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) come out in favour of scrapping compulsory masks – especially on flights.

But so far, nothing concrete has been done to change the Infection Protection Act, which is due to expire on September 23rd. 

READ ALSO: German politicians row over lifting mandatory Covid mask rule

What are the current rules on flights? 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, masks are compulsory on all flights taking off or landing in Germany.

FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight, though they can be removed when eating and drinking.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement. 

The ministry has argued that the obligation to wear masks also complies with the new EU recommendations. 

What are the rules acros the EU? 

In general, the relaxed EU recommendation does not mean that masks are no longer compulsory on all flights. However, many countries have kept this measure in place as a simple way to reduce infection. 

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, published a list of 14 EU countries in which national laws continue to require the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid.

Besides Germany, popular tourist destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are included on the list. 

In other EU countries, the airline said it would be dropping mandatory masks on flights, adding that it “welcomed” the relaxed recommendations from the EU health authorities.  

READ ALSO: Will Germany soon get rid of mandatory face masks on public transport?