Germany: Cabinet Approves Anti-Corona Measures, Lockdowns Ruled Out

The members of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ cabinet agreed on Corona rules it wants to push through the Bundestag next month. Masks will still have to be worn, but schools are supposed to remain open.

Berlin, August 25th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — In fall and winter, when people gather indoors again, new Corona waves and variants might increase the danger. The latest version of Germany’s Infection Protection Act expires soon. On September 8th, the Bundestag is supposed to approve an amendment that applies until the spring of next year. Recently, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann agreed on a draft. Now, the cabinet approved a final version it wants to push through the parliament.

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Masks and Exceptions

On the national level, the new Corona regulations will include manadatory FFP2 masks on aircraft and long-distance trains and coaches. Children from 6 to 14 years of age and staff members may also wear medical masks. In order to get into hospitals and care homes, people will have to wear masks and show negative Corona tests.

Germany’s federal states will have to right to react to the Corona situation by putting in place their own measures. Those include mandatory mask rules in public transport and public buildings. As long as the Corona situation is not too alarming, exceptions to the mask rule in buildings are an option. But if and once the infection numbers explode again, the exceptions will not apply anymore. At restaurants, cultural venues and sports establishments, persons who show negative Corona tests or fresh vaccination certificates are supposed to be exempt from the mask rule.

Expected Issues

According to Professor Lauterbach, the goal of the government’s policy is to prevent the number of Corona-related deaths, and that of sick leaves, from increasing. He said he hoped that the measures would not have to be implemented, but there needed to be the option to do so. He also assured the public there would not be school closures or lockdowns. But Lauterbach is not overly optimistic: “I believe we will run into issues in Oktober”, he stated.

“We just have to be prepared for a situation that could develop in fall or winter”, Minister Buschmann said. This was why the federal states would have many options. “At this stage, many ask themselves why this crap is not over”, Buschmann stated. “But the virus is not gone yet.”

Home Office

In the meantime, Germany’s Labor Ministry is working on changing the home office regulations, according to several German-language publications. Employers might be forced to offer their staff members this option. But exceptions are supposed to apply. Companies will also have to put together hygiene concepts that are supposed to protect their employees from getting infected with the Coronavirus.

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