The German federal government announced on Wednesday that it intends to extend a face mask mandate covering air travel and other forms of long-distance public transport through to April 2023 at the earliest.
Germany’s health ministry or Bundesgesundheitsministerium (often abbreviated to BMG) said mask rules continued to be necessary as it expected a seasonal increase in COVID-19 infections over the autumn and winter months.
The law allowing the mask mandate is contained within the Infection Protection Act which is set to expire on 23rd September 2022. In consultation with the Ministry of Justice and Chancellery, the BMG has managed to have the legal powers extended to the 7th of April 2023.
Federal Minister of Justice Dr. Marco Buschmann said Germany had developed a seven-point plan to combat the pandemic over the winter but that the country had ruled out lockdowns and curfews.
The face mask mandate will continue to apply to all commercial passenger flights, as well as long-distance trains and coaches. Germany’s 16 federal states will have the power to apply mask mandates in other public settings, such as airports and train stations.
Over the last few months, face masks have generally not been required in German airports but are required as soon as passengers step foot aboard the aircraft.
Most states dropped masking rules in airports following the advice of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) back in May 2022. Most European countries also dropped inflight mask rules following the ECDC’s guidance but several states, including Germany, Portugal and Spain ignored the recommendations.
As part of its winter pandemic plan, Germany is not, however, expected to introduce so-called 3G rules for air travel in which passengers must prove they are either vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or have tested negative.
“We continue to take the pandemic seriously,” commented Dr Buschmann. “Our protection concept is the right answer to the current pandemic situation. I am glad that we agreed on this so quickly within the federal government,” Buschmann continued.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.