Waiting for end of mask requirement in public transport | Free press


A good month after most of the state’s corona protection requirements were lifted, the obligation to wear masks on buses, trains and planes is also under pressure.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has spoken in favor of finalizing the work after EU authorities relaxed their recommendations on the general requirement for masks on airplanes. “We should adopt a uniform approach across Europe and abolish the requirement for masks, especially in air traffic,” said an FDP politician. He sees the same need for adaptation to buses and trains. The transport industry also no longer considers the use of masks necessary. On the other hand, chairwoman of state transport ministers, Bremen Senator Maike Schaefer (Greens) spoke of “bad signals at the wrong time.”

The national requirement for masks on airplanes and long-distance trains is set out in the Infection Protection Act until September 23. Masks are also mandatory for local bus and train transport, which are required by the respective federal states.

EU authorities are relaxing recommendations for protection against the crown

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the EU’s health authority, ECDC, have announced that they will relax their recommendations on aviation corona protection. From this Monday, the general recommendation to wear medical masks at airports and airplanes will no longer apply. If there is a government obligation to wear masks on public transport at the departure or destination point, this recommendation should continue to apply in the aircraft as per the recommendation.

Upon request, the Federal Ministry of Transport announced that it is now addressing the Ministry of Health – in connection with the possibility provided for by law, to suspend the obligation to wear a mask on airplanes and long-distance trains by means of a federal government ordinance with the consent of the Bundesrat. Upon request, the Ministry of Health confirmed that the requirement for masks on aircraft landing or taking off in Germany is in line with the EU recommendation. Consequently, it still applies to domestic German routes and flights departing from or landing in Germany. Children under six are exempt.

The Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry welcomed Wissing’s voice. Waiting until September 23 for the mask requirement to automatically expire is an unnecessary delay. You could have done without it a long time ago. Lufthansa has declared: “It’s time to rely on voluntary as in other areas of everyday life.” In airplanes, high-performance filters constantly clean the air in the cabin.

“Intended turnover prior to the introduction of the EUR 9 ticket”

Senator Schaefer from Bremen criticized Wissing’s initiative. “We will soon be introducing a € 9 ticket, which in the worst case will lead to overcrowding on some routes. At this point, I believe it would be counterproductive to abolish the requirement for masks. ‘

Federal and state governments want to offer € 9 monthly tickets for buses and trains throughout Germany in June, July and August – as a relief to rising energy prices, but also as a trial campaign to get more people to switch from their car.

The bus and rail companies support the repeal

The Association of Transport Companies supported Wissing’s position. “For months we have been watching full football stadiums, concerts and parties without masks. More and more people are walking without masks in restaurants, malls and supermarkets, ”said CEO Oliver Wolff. Nevertheless, the number of infections has decreased. From the point of view of bus and rail operators there is therefore no reason to comply with the mask requirement for local or long distance transport. Especially in local transport, the average stay in the vehicle is rather short compared to shopping in a mall or dinner in a restaurant.

The obligation to wear masks in means of transport has been retained in the Infection Protection Act, also because buses and trains are usually very full during rush hour rush hour. The association of transport companies expressed the hope that the countries responsible for local transport would soon adapt to the situation. Of course, the further course of the pandemic should be borne in mind and the situation should be reassessed if the number of infections increases again. In France, the requirement for masks on public transport ends early next week, Health Minister Olivier Véran said.

General requirements for masks for events or when shopping were abolished in much of Germany from the beginning of April. Regardless of government regulations, there are many places, for example in cultural institutions, but there are still protective regulations with mask requirements. (dpa)

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