3G rules scrapped in northeast Germany

The rural German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has ended the so-called 3G rules for entry to indoor venues, leaving Hamburg as the last state with strict Covid restrictions.

3G rules scrapped in northeast Germany
An Ordnungsamt official checks vaccine passports in Schwerin, Mecklenburg. Photo: dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Büttner

Residents of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania were no longer expected to show a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination or recovery on Thursday after the state government abolished the 3G entry requirement.

The 3G door checks will now only exist at the entrance to hospitals and care homes.

In the state’s night clubs the stricter 2G plus rules will remain in force, meaning that people who want to go out dancing will have to show proof of vaccination or recovery as well as a negative test result.

READ ALSO: Bavaria cuts Covid quarantine time to five days

Masks will still also be required in most indoor areas, while the maintenance of social distancing rules means that there will still be limits on the number of people allowed into a venue.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Hamburg were the only two German states that decided to keep their Covid restrictions in place when a new Disease Control Law came into effect at the beginning of April.

Both states decided to make use of a clause in the new law that allowed them to declare the whole state to be a “hotspot” due to the fact that their hospitals were still under strain.

Hamburg has decided to maintain its Covid restrictions until at least the end of April.

Infection rate falls nationwide

Germany’s 7-day incidence of infection continued to decline on Thursday, with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) putting the value at 1,016 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a week-long period. A week ago the value stood at 1,251.

In total, a further 165,368 positive PCR tests were reported to the agency by Thursday morning, bringing the total number of recorded infections since the pandemic began to 23.2 million.

A further 310 deaths were also recorded in connection with a Covid infection.

READ ALSO: What are Germany’s new Covid workplace rules?

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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?