Face masks are compulsory in these states and cities in Germany

Face masks are compulsory in these states and cities in Germany

The federal government may have only issued a “strong recommendation”, but the federal states in Germany have taken it upon themselves to make wearing a protective mask obligatory. An overview of which state is planning what - and when. 

Majority of German states make face masks compulsory

Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Bavaria were the first to make a move, but gradually the other federal states fell in line. All have now decided to make covering your mouth and nose in public compulsory. 

This means that, when you go shopping or use public transportation, you must wear a protective covering over your mouth and nose. The exact timing and guidelines differ per federal state; detailed information can be found below. Note, however, that for all states a medical mask is not required - even a simple scarf is sufficient. 


From April 27 onwards, mouths and noses must be covered when in shops and on public transport in Baden-Württemberg.


From next week onwards, everyone in Bavaria is obligated to cover their nose and mouth while using public transportation or in shops. 


The Senate announced on Tuesday that from next week mouth and nose coverings must be worn on all buses, S- and U-Bahns and in shops in Berlin.


Following the example set by Berlin, Brandenburg has decided that face coverings will be compulsory in all S-Bahn trains, trams, buses and shops from next Monday onwards. 


Bremen was the last state to introduce a regulation - making masks mandatory on public transport and in shops from April 27 onwards.


Wearing a mask will be obligatory from next Monday in Hamburg - in shops, at markets and in public transport.


In Hesse a requirement to wear a mask has already been introduced. It will apply to shops, public transportation, banks and post offices from next week onwards. In the city of Hanau, however, masks have been compulsory since the beginning of this week. 

Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony too it will become compulsory to wear a mask in shops and on public transportation from next Monday onwards. The city of Wolfsburg has been enforcing the regulation since Monday, April 20. 


From next Monday, masks must be worn on public transport and in shops in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Anyone caught not wearing a mask on public transportation risks a fine of 25 euros. 

North Rhine-Westphalia

After several days of indecision, North Rhine-Westphalia has finally also decided to make wearing a mask compulsory in buses, trains and shops, as well as at stops and stations, in taxis, medical practices, post offices, banks and petrol stations, from next Monday onwards. 


The situation in Rhineland-Palatinate is broadly similar. The state government has ruled that masks will be compulsory from next Monday.


On Wednesday it was announced that the mask regulation would apply from next week in Saarland as well. 


In Saxony, masks have been compulsory since Monday, April 20, for shops and transportation. 


From this Thursday, April 23, a face covering obligation will come into force in Saxony-Anhalt


From April 29, everyone in Schleswig-Holstein will be obliged to wear a mask while shopping and in public transportation. 


In Thuringia, face masks must be worn in buses, on trains and in shops from Friday, April 24 onwards. The regulation has already been in force for nearly two weeks in the city of Jena. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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