Pandemic: GMK chair and Wissing for the end of the mask requirement on the ICE

GMK chair and Wissing for the end of the mask requirement in the ICE

Will masks be compulsory on long-distance public transport?  Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa

Will masks be compulsory on long-distance public transport? photo

© Federico Gambarini/dpa

More and more countries are tipping the mask requirement in public transport. The decision for long-distance transport lies with the federal government. The FDP has been putting pressure on there for some time. Now comes encouragement from the Greens.

The new chairman of the conference of health ministers, Baden-Württemberg’s department head Manne Lucha, calls for the lifting of the Mask requirement in long-distance public transport from February.

“The aim should be for there to be as uniform rules as possible throughout Germany from February long-distance fall,” said the Green politician to the newspapers of the Funke media group. However, he was in favor of maintaining the mask requirement in medical facilities. “Vulnerable groups still need special protection.”

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) also spoke out in favor of ending the mask requirement in long-distance transport “as soon as possible” on the ARD program “Maischberger” last night. “It’s also a burden for the staff to control,” he said.

Lauterbach: “still too early”

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had recently not ruled out a premature end to the mask requirement in long-distance transport and in health facilities. “It may well be that we will abolish the mask requirement earlier,” the SPD politician told the “Stern”. But he didn’t want to set a date. At the moment it is “still too early”, according to Lauterbach. According to the applicable Infection Protection Act, FFP2 masks are still mandatory in long-distance buses and trains until April 7th. The federal government could change this with a simple ordinance.

The federal states can decide for themselves whether masks are compulsory in local transport. More and more countries overturned them recently. Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein have already abolished them. Berlin, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony want to lift them by the beginning of next month at the latest.

Dürr: “Measures must be understandable”

The coalition partner FDP reiterated the demands for an earlier end to the obligation in long-distance transport. FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr told the Funke newspapers: “We have always said that measures must be understandable, because that is the only way they will be accepted. But with the mask requirement, nobody can understand why you are on the ICE have to wear a mask to Munich, but not on the local subway.”

The managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, made a similar statement. “By February 2nd at the latest, when two other federal states, Berlin and Brandenburg, lift the mask requirement in local transport, it should also be phased out in long-distance transport,” he said. It cannot be explained to people why they would have to continue to wear a mask on long-distance trains if the obligation in air transport and in most federal states had been abolished.


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