On April 2, the Infection Protection Act will expire in Germany and with it the obligation to wear masks in stores. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has already appealed to retail chains to maintain the mandatory wearing of masks by introducing a by-law. Despite this, some stores have opted out. Among them are Edeka, Rewe and Aldi. Below are the details.
Lauterbach asks supermarkets to maintain mask obligation
Most of Germany’s nationwide coronavirus laws will expire this coming weekend – despite huge criticism. This means that the requirement for masks in stores, schools and the 2G and 3G access rules will be lifted. However, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has appealed to retail chains to extend the requirement to wear masks on a home basis.
Important: The requirement to wear masks still applies in stores located in high-risk regions. So far, these regions include Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hamburg.
However, some chains have already announced that they will not comply with this appeal. Here is an overview of the stores where masks will no longer be required as of April 2:
- ECE (operator of shopping centers, including Gesundbrunnen-Center in Berlin, Stadtgalerie Hameln and Olympia-Einkaufszentrum in Munich)
- Ernsting’s Family
- Gerry Weber
- Lidl and Kaufland
- Rewe and Penny
- Edeka (from 4 April)
Shopping without a mask soon also possible at Rewe and Penny
As long as there are no other official regulations, shopping at Rewe and Penny will also be possible without a mask, a Rewe spokesman said on Thursday. That includes the Toom store chain, which is also part of the group. Wearing masks was introduced as a protective measure during the pandemic.
Lidl and Aldi also said Thursday that their customers will soon no longer have to use mouth and nose protection. If government guidelines “stipulate the abolition of mandatory masks for customers, we will comply,” announced the Schwarz Group, which includes Lidl and Kaufland. Aldi Süd announced that it reserves the right to recommend to its employees and customers that they continue to wear masks voluntarily.
Since Monday, Edeka customers no longer have to wear masks
Following several retail chains, Edeka too has announced that it will not require customers to wear masks from next week. “We have no way to control this,” – A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur newspaper. The company still recommends the voluntary wearing of medical masks when visiting supermarkets to protect customers and employees. “Unfortunately, with the amendment of the Infection Protection Act, the legislature has decided that the obligation to wear masks can now only be ruled on in exceptional cases and in special hot spots,” – Edeka criticized. “Therefore, we cannot now be expected to continue to enforce the mask obligation with a household law.”
And what about the supermarket chain Rewe? According to the Tagesspiegel, a spokesperson for the Rewe Group explained in response to a question that the company would follow the relevant state regulations: “Official pandemic measures are defined by countries and municipalities – Rewe stores will follow the instructions issued by the authorities in a correspondingly uniform manner.” The mask obligation imposed solely by the company is therefore not an option for Rewe.
Aldi also follows the example of its competitors
As of April 2, customers of the Aldi chain will no longer have to wear masks, at least in the states that are not considered regions with a higher incidence of coronavirus. The Aldi Süd press office told FOCUS Online: “In view of the expiration of the transition period on April 2, we must now wait and see how the concrete formulation of the coronavirus regulations in the federal states will look. The regulations therein will be decisive for us.”
The document further reads: “Where regulations mandate the use of masks as a protective measure, we will of course introduce this legal requirement. Where masks are not mandatory, we reserve the right to recommend that employees and customers continue to wear masks voluntarily.”
Many states have also opted out of 2G or 3G
In the future, most states will not follow the 2G, 3G rules. Due to legal uncertainty, the state governments of Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Württemberg have decided not to extend the protective measures.
The mandatory masks are not automatically lifted! It depends on hotspot regulations
However, as we mentioned earlier, states can apply these measures if a region is declared a hotspot. Currently, this only applies to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Hamburg. Hamburg’s parliament has declared the Hanseatic city a coronavirus hotspot. In contrast to the neighboring states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein and most other states, protective measures such as the obligation to wear masks in publicly accessible indoor areas and retail outlets will be maintained after next Saturday until the end of April.
source: www.focus.de, www.insidegermany.co