Infection Protection Act from autumn with mask requirement

  2. Politics

Created: 08/21/2022, 8:00 p.m

Von: Hannah Blanket


The federal government has drawn up the new corona rules for autumn. The obligation to wear masks can again be found in the Infection Protection Act. There are exceptions. NRW criticizes.

Hamm - Here we go again. After months of silence on the measures front, politics and science are again discussing corona rules. The federal government recently presented a draft for the new Infection Protection Act. The countries sometimes criticize it sharply. Most recently, the health ministers spoke about the Corona plan from October. But what is it all about?

New Infection Protection Act: These corona rules should apply from October

How do we get through autumn and winter? How strong do the restrictions have to be? Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) have agreed on a draft for the new Infection Protection Act. But: There are only two measures that should apply nationwide from October 1st. The federal states should decide on “optional, more extensive protective measures”.

These corona rules should apply nationwide from autumn.

  • Mask requirement in airplanes and in long-distance traffic,
  • Compulsory masks and tests in healthcare facilities and nursing homes (exceptions: vaccinated and recovered are exempt from the obligation to test; residents and patients are exempt from the obligation to wear masks and tests).

Corona plan from October: countries should be able to impose stricter rules

Only the protective measures in public long-distance and air traffic as well as for hospitals and care facilities are regulated uniformly nationwide. Anything beyond that should be in the hands of the states. These measures can be imposed:

  • Mask requirement in local public transport,
  • Mask requirement in publicly accessible interiors,
  • Masks are compulsory in schools from grade 5 if this is necessary to maintain regular face-to-face teaching,
  • in the event of a specific threat to critical infrastructure such as healthcare: compulsory masks in outdoor areas.

Important: However, exceptions are stipulated for the mask requirement at leisure, cultural and sporting events or in corresponding facilities as well as for gastronomy - for those who were vaccinated or recovered no more than three months ago and with current test evidence. In other words: 3G, but not as an access control, but as an exception to the mask requirement.

Mandatory hygiene concepts with further requirements, for example for ventilation or to avoid unnecessary contacts, can then also be ordered. A minimum distance of 1.5 meters can also be stipulated in general. However, even in such an aggravated situation, lockdowns or business closures are not planned.

New Infection Protection Act: Criticism of mandatory mask exception rules

In the event of a tense corona situation in autumn and winter, people in Germany have to prepare for the return to wearing masks indoors. This was confirmed on Tuesday (9 August) by Karl Lauterbach after the Federal and State Health Ministers' Conference (GMK). However, differences about the exceptions provided by the federal government for newly vaccinated people also became clear.

Several countries had previously criticized planned exceptions. This is about the plan to exempt people from wearing masks in restaurants or at cultural and sporting events if their vaccination is not older than three months. Lauterbach said: “It should only be possible to deviate from this in exceptional cases.” This makes the emergency rule even safer. "A freshly vaccinated person has a relatively low risk of infection even if they don't wear a mask."

Bavaria's Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) called on Lauterbach to remove the "questionable exceptions" from the law. A three-month vaccination interval contradicts the current recommendations of the Standing Vaccination Commission. According to the GMK chairmen and Saxony-Anhalt's Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD), the states have pointed out that the mask exceptions are difficult to control and implement.

New Infection Protection Act: Criticism also from NRW

Hamburg's Health Senator Melanie Leonhard (SPD) asked: "How should this be implemented in practice in front of a pub, in front of a restaurant, in front of a theater?" NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) said Rheinische Post: "That cannot be controlled." The countries would now make concrete suggestions for improvement. The NRW state government said before this consultation that the planned change in the measures would be examined.

However, Grimm-Benne described the protection concept for the fall presented by Lauterbach and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) as a good basis for providing the federal states with a “tool box”. "On the one hand, nationwide measures such as the obligation to wear masks in air and long-distance traffic offer guidelines for coping with the autumn wave," said Grimm-Benne. “At the same time, the federal states are given the power to order further protective measures.” The SPD politician also insisted that schools and daycare centers should remain open.

So far, few or no corona rules have applied. The first changes in the new Corona Protection Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia relate to the rules in schools and daycare centers.