Bavaria's Health Minister Klaus Holetschek has sharply criticized the possible elimination of the FFP2 mask requirement on flights to and from Germany. “The Berlin traffic light is completely ridiculous with its confused Corona course. Who should take the Federal Minister of Health seriously if he is already giving in to the FDP again?” said the CSU politician.
The obligation to wear a corona mask on airplanes to and from Germany is to be abolished for the time being in the autumn. The requirement for wearing FFP2 masks on board, which is initially still provided nationwide in the Infection Protection Act, is to be deleted, as the editorial network Germany reported on Monday evening, citing coalition groups. At the same time, according to the agreement, the law should stipulate nationwide that, apart from long-distance trains, clinics and nursing homes, FFP2 masks are also mandatory in medical practices.
Mask requirement: yes or no?
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) told the German Press Agency: "Vaccinations and masks remain the best protection against the expected omicron wave. That's why we use both." Masks should therefore also be worn in medical practices. "As long as the pandemic situation allows it, on the other hand, masks will no longer be compulsory on the plane. However, the mask remains recommended there too. This is not a question of regulations, but of common sense." According to the existing law, the mask requirement on the plane is valid until September 23.
The aviation industry has been protesting against the obligation to wear masks on board for a long time, pointing out that it no longer applies in other everyday areas and countries.
Bavaria's Health Minister Holetschek, on the other hand, emphasized that nobody seriously disputes that masks on airplanes could be effective protection against infections. "This is especially true if everyone present is wearing a mask. In addition, it is quite reasonable for air travelers to protect themselves and above all others in this way."
Countries should be able to adjust
The Bundestag is to adopt the corona provisions in the Infection Protection Act for the fall this Thursday. The cabinet had launched a draft that generally provides for more extensive rules on masks and tests from October 1st to April 7th, 2023. The federal states should be able to impose further protective requirements and expand them in a critical situation.
For planes and long-distance trains, the concept of Lauterbach and Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) originally stipulated that FFP2 masks should generally be mandatory there - and that simpler surgical masks are no longer possible as before. This should also be the case for long-distance trains. The federal states should continue to be able to regulate mask requirements for buses and trains in local transport. So far, the federal states have also been able to specify this for medical practices - for them, the mask requirement is now also to be regulated directly by federal law.