With the upcoming uncomfortable season, a more difficult pandemic situation also threatens. There is concern in science and politics that the number of corona cases could increase significantly again after the summer. Some measures depend on the federal states. The federal states should impose the requirements and be able to expand them in a critical situation. However, the obligation to wear masks on airplanes, which has been in force for months, is to end for the time being.
On Thursday, the Bundestag passed a package of laws by the traffic light coalition that provides for more extensive rules on masks and tests from October 1st to April 7th, 2023. The opposition has criticized the plans, which are expected to have to go to the Federal Council on September 16th. An overview:
FFP2 mask requirements in clinics, nursing homes and medical practices should apply nationwide. Likewise for everyone aged 14 and over, also on long-distance trains. A simpler surgical mask should be sufficient for children between the ages of 6 and 13.
nursing homes and clinics
In addition to the mask, a negative test should be presented before entering nursing homes and clinics. In order to strengthen the protection of those in need of care who are particularly at risk, homes should appoint officers who take care of vaccinations, hygiene and therapies for those who are sick, for example with the drug Paxlovid.
schools and day-care centers
Tests should be mandatory in schools and daycare centers. It is also possible to make masks compulsory in schools – but only from the fifth grade and only to the extent that this is “necessary to maintain regulated face-to-face teaching”.
Masks are no longer compulsory on airplanes. The federal government should be able to introduce them by ordinance without the consent of the Bundesrat if the number of cases increases. A nationwide mask requirement should remain in long-distance trains.
There is no federal regulation here. The federal states should continue to be able to regulate mask requirements for buses and trains in local transport.
First country level
From October 1st, the states should be able to impose conditions on themselves. This also includes the obligation to wear masks in local transport with buses and trains. However, masks should again become mandatory in publicly accessible indoor spaces such as shops and restaurants - with the mandatory exception that you do not need a mask if you show a negative test in gastronomy and at cultural, leisure or sporting events.
Second country level
In the case of a regionally more critical corona situation, the federal states should be able to impose further requirements. This also includes the obligation to wear masks at outdoor events if distances of 1.50 meters are not possible there. Hygiene concepts for companies and other facilities can be prescribed. In addition, visitor limits for indoor events should be possible.
However, these measures should not simply be able to be determined by the state governments, a state parliament resolution should be necessary. It should also be a condition that a specific threat to the health system or other important areas of care for a region is identified - in an overall view of the number of infections and other indicators.