“Freedom Day”? Rather not.
First measures are taken, masks remain
03/20/2022, 06:11 am
The incidence values have been skyrocketing since the beginning of March, despite this, a number of corona measures are no longer being taken in Germany today. But there can be no question of a “Freedom Day”. All countries want to use the transition period until the beginning of April.
Despite the high number of corona infections, the first nationwide protective requirements in Germany are no longer applicable. As of today, 3G proof of being vaccinated, recovered or tested is no longer required for train travel with Deutsche Bahn, as the Infection Protection Act now stipulates. However, the mask requirement in local and long-distance public transport is still in the Infection Protection Act. The legal obligation for 3G access proofs at the workplace has now also been lifted. In the future, companies should be able to assess the risk situation themselves and define protective measures in company hygiene concepts.
The chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Reiner Hoffmann, calls for the relaxation of the corona virus to be withdrawn quickly. “We have record incidences, and the situation can get worse again in the fall,” Hoffmann told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “I advocate that the Infection Protection Act and the Covid Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance be tightened up quickly. We must not risk the workplace becoming a source of infection again.”
The 3G rules at work and in transport had been in effect for almost four months. They are now omitted after changes to the nationwide legal basis, which the Bundestag decided on Friday with votes from the traffic light coalition. This means that the countries are only able to set a few general protective requirements in everyday life, such as masks and tests in facilities for vulnerable groups such as nursing homes and clinics. For regional “hotspots”, however, further restrictions can come if the state parliament determines a particularly critical corona situation for them.
Countries against the traffic light law
The new regulation has met with sharp criticism from the federal states. Across the parties, prime ministers have accused the federal government of irresponsibly going it alone in corona policy. Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek told the “Bild am Sonntag”: “Instead of a day of freedom, there is a risk of a day of unreasonableness.” Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann contradicted: “From now on we are moving people’s personal responsibility to the fore. We are again taking a big step towards normality,” said the FDP politician.
But it won’t come quite that quickly: All countries want to use a transitional period of two weeks provided by law. This means that current regulations such as further mask requirements in other areas such as shops and schools or access rules such as 2G and 3G can remain in place until April 2nd at the latest – the exceptions are, among other things, contact restrictions or upper limits for participants for events.
The transitional period should also be able to be used to seal new rules. The President of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, warned that schools would be released for contamination if the mask requirement in many federal states were quickly abolished. “It worries me how quickly masks will no longer be compulsory in schools in many federal states – even though we are still in the middle of the omicron wave and the number of infections is rising again,” he told the editorial network Germany. “I hope that all this doesn’t fall on our feet any time soon.”