Two German states scrap face masks on public transport
After a meeting between health ministers, two federal states in Germany have announced that they will remove the obligation to wear face masks on public transport.
German states remove mask obligation on public transport
Two German federal states have decided to remove the obligation to wear masks on public transport after a meeting between state health ministers on Tuesday. From December 7, people in Saxony-Anhalt will no longer be obliged to wear masks on local trains, buses and trams. In Bavaria the same regulations will apply from December 10. FFP2 masks have been compulsory on public transport in Germany since Janurary 2021.
The two states decided to go their own way with new regulations after state health ministers could not reach an agreement for a nationwide rule on mask wearing. Health ministers representing Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt said that cases of coronavirus in the two states were stable enough to justify the new policy, though Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach criticised the two states' divergence from unified regulations.
According to The Local, Daniel Günther, state premier of Schleswig-Holstein, recently announced that his government is planning to remove obligatory mask wearing on public transport in the near future. For now, rules in Germany’s other 13 states will remain unchanged.
Masks remain compulsory on long-distance transport
Across Germany, however, masks will remain compulsory on long-distance trains. These rules are part of the winter coronavirus strategy and will likely stay in place until April 2023.
But speaking to the dpa, head of the rail and transport union (EVG) Martin Burkert said that passengers didn’t understand why face masks were still required on long-distance trips. "If the regulations stay in place,” Burkert said, “they should be regulated by the police, rather than by people working for Deutsche Bahn."