The federal government has presented a multi-stage protection concept to contain the corona pandemic in autumn and winter. Nationwide, only a few measures are to apply from October to early April, but the federal states can issue additional regulations, such as the obligation to wear masks, as the Federal Ministries of Health and Justice announced on Wednesday. If the danger situation worsens, the federal states can then take even more stringent protective measures.
The mask requirement should continue to apply nationwide in air and long-distance public transport. The mask and test requirement for access to hospitals and care facilities should also remain in place, albeit with certain exceptions. The isolation obligation for corona infected people and the facility-related vaccination obligation will not be shaken, it said.
The federal states can also decide on further measures to protect the health system and critical infrastructure, as stated in a statement by the two ministries. This includes a mask requirement in local public transport, in publicly accessible rooms and in schools from the fifth grade, provided this is necessary to maintain regulated face-to-face classes.
There is a “mandatory exception” to the mask requirement for leisure, cultural or sporting events as well as for gastronomy. There, the mask requirement can also be waived indoors if there is proof of a test, recovery or full vaccination that is not older than three months.
As a further step in the fight against the pandemic, state parliaments can adopt additional measures for the entire federal state or parts of it. To do this, “a concrete risk to the functionality of the health system or other critical infrastructure” must be identified.
If this is the case, a "mask requirement for outdoor events if a minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained, as well as for events in publicly accessible indoor areas" can also be ordered. Exceptions for recovered, vaccinated or tested persons do not apply.
"Mandatory hygiene concepts" for interiors in companies, facilities, trade and for offers and events in the leisure, cultural and sports sectors can then be specified, as well as upper limits for the number of participants.
The regulation is to be passed by the Bundestag in the first week of September and will apply from October 1st to April 7th next year. The previous regulation, which would expire on September 23, is to be extended until the end of September. The changes are to be incorporated into an ongoing legislative process, and the government is expected to adopt a so-called formulation aid for the coalition factions on August 24th.