Shopping like before – masks while shopping in the history of Germany


After almost two years, the need for masks in the retail sector has fallen in much of Germany. Supermarkets, discounters and other stores opened their doors on Monday and allowed in for the first time since the spring of 2020 customers who do not wear mouth and nose protection. The federal and state governments had relaxed their corona measures accordingly.

The mask requirement had already been dropped in Berlin on Friday and in most other states on Sunday. For the time being, only Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern adhere to the obligation to wear them as part of a so-called hotspot arrangement.

care for employees
In retail, the ending is causing mixed feelings. The Verdi union raised concerns among workers about the risk of contamination. There are also many critical voices among employers.

In a survey of retailers by the Bavarian Retail Association, a narrow majority said they thought the end of the mask requirement was wrong (50.4 percent). 39.2 percent think the abolition is justified. According to the survey, 11.7 percent of retailers in Bavaria want to adhere to the mask requirement in their stores, while 77.4 percent do not want to prescribe masks under house law.

Large retail chains against mouth caps
In the large retail chains, customers no longer have to attract MNS, for example at Rewe, Lidl, Aldi and Edeka, at furniture store Ikea, at bookseller Thalia or at the textile chains H&M and Primark. Sometimes, however, employees and customers are advised to continue to wear a mask.

Traders fear the downsides of going it alone
The fact that many retailers are concerned, but few continue to make face masks mandatory in their premises, probably has to do with the fact that entrepreneurs are afraid of disadvantages when advertising for customers. That is what the boss of shirt manufacturer van Laack, Christian von Daniels, calls the end of the state demand regrettable. However, he does not exercise his housing rights for his van Laack and SØR stores. “If we just make masks compulsory and the other retailers don’t, that would be a competitive disadvantage — you can’t do that,” says von Daniels.

responsibility of the customers
The German Retail Association emphasizes that it has always been clear that the mask requirement in shopping cannot apply in the long term and will disappear as soon as the pandemic situation allows it, according to politicians and experts. The general manager of the association, Stefan Genth, expects that mouth and nose masks will remain widespread in shops. “We assume that customers act on their own responsibility and continue to wear a mask when shopping,” said the representative of the association. “The majority have become accustomed to the mask and usually don’t see it as a major limitation.”

Masks are also mandatory in the German Chancellery
With the abolition of the mask requirement in many areas of public life, regulations are also being relaxed in German government buildings: For example, as the Federal Press Service announced on Monday, masks are no longer mandatory in the Federal Chancellery.

The ministries, on the other hand, differ, but the obligation to wear mouth caps in any case is largely maintained. The rules initially remain particularly strict in the German Bundestag. MEPs and their staff must continue to wear FFP2 masks and carry 3G credentials.

Source: Krone


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