Earlier this year, the EU recommended that masks no longer needed to be mandatory on air travel. However, the German government decided to keep the rule in place, meaning that people have had to wear face masks on flights to and from Germany.
The initial plans for Covid laws this autumn included keeping the mask rule on planes in place.
But after questions were raised over why ministers – including Chancellor Olaf Scholz – were seen without masks on a government trip to Canada recently, it now appears that the mask mandate for passenger planes will be dropped.
According to German media reports, a new draft of the Covid infection protection laws says it will no longer be a requirement for passengers to wear an FFP2 mask on planes, but that it could be reintroduced if Covid cases soar.
The draft law stipulates that FFP2 masks will, however, have to be worn on long-distance trains, as well as in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and clinics nationwide.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, of the Social Democrats, told DPA: “Vaccination and masks remain the best protection against the expected Omicron wave. That’s why we are using both.”
Masks should therefore also be worn in doctors’ offices, he said, adding: “As long as the pandemic situation permits, on the other hand, the mask requirement will be dropped on aeroplanes. However, the mask remains recommended there as well. This is not a question of regulations, but of common sense.”
According to a report by Germany’s RND, the originally planned mask requirement for air travel was removed from the Infection Protection Act due to pressure from the Free Democrats (FDP), who form part of the ruling coalition along with the SPD and Greens. The FDP had been pushing for an end to mandatory masks in planes.
The Bundestag is scheduled to decide on the Covid plans for autumn this Thursday.
Mask obligation/compulsory masks – (die) Maskenpflicht
Airplane – (der) Flugzeug
Draft – (der) Entwurf
Long-distance train – (der) Fernzug
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