VFrom the beginning of February, masks will no longer be compulsory in local and long-distance public transport nationwide. On Friday, the last federal states, including North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg, announced the end of the obligation to wear a corona protective mask in public transport in their states. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had previously announced that the obligation to wear a mask on long-distance trains and buses would also expire prematurely on February 2nd.
The federal states can decide for themselves whether masks are compulsory in local transport. In Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein, the obligation is already passé. More and more countries have also announced the end of the obligation in the past few days – on Friday then also the most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The end of the mask requirement in local public transport in most federal states will come into effect at the beginning of February, most recently on February 3 in Thuringia.
“We simply have to rely more on personal responsibility and voluntariness,” said Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) in Berlin. However, these steps should not be allowed to play down the disease. Overall, the pandemic situation has stabilized. “The experts advising us no longer assume that there will be another big, severe winter wave,” said the SPD politician. It is also not to be expected at this point in time that particularly dangerous virus variants could reach Germany in the coming weeks and months.
The demands for an early end to the mask requirement have recently become louder, within the federal government the FDP in particular insisted on it. According to the Infection Protection Act, the obligation to wear a mask in long-distance traffic should last until April 7th.
Lauterbach once again made it clear that he still considers a prescribed isolation for corona infected people to be necessary – also with a view to safety at work. The corresponding recommendation remains in place. Several federal states have already ended the isolation requirement.