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Germany To Reinstate Mask Mandate For The Entire Winter

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We might be never catching a break from Covid. After a mostly restriction-free summer, which saw vaccination requirements being lifted and other once-stringent rules scrapped, Germany will be making a controversial move beginning this fall and reinstate restrictions – among them, a mask mandate for the entire winter.

Young Man Wearing A Face Mask As He Checks His Phone In Germany, Europe

Although it's clearly shifted to more liberal policies, much like most of Europe, the Deutsch fatherland is no stranger to U-turns when it comes to the pandemic. Earlier this year, it staged what's been perhaps the most confusing reopening so far, loosening rules only to tighten them afterwards, and eventually scrap them altogether – all in the same week.

Now, at least we're getting a heads up:

Germany Is Changing Tactics Once Again

Marienplatz In Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Germany is now one of the first European nation to reinstate Covid measures after having lifted them during the peak travel season. The news were shared by the country's Ministry of Health, who issued a press release informing the public things are about to change in Germany once again, as soon as October 1st.

Essentially, top health officials believe a different approach is required to prevent a surge in infections throughout autumn and winter, a trend we've seen in the last couple of years. Germany is determined to avoid an umpteenth wave, though, and the Ministry of Health's new proposal will see masks making a comeback.

Young Woman Wearing An Anti Covid Face Mask With A Blurred Kolner Dom As Background, Cologne, Germany

Autumn and winter are associated with a seasonal surge in COVID-19 cases‘, reads the statement, ‘and with an increased burden on the health system and other critical infrastructure‘. That much is true, seeing that previous viral trends have indicated an overwhelming increase in cases inevitably puts a strain on hospitals.

The texts concludes by adding that ‘modified rules are required' between October 1st, 2022 and April 7th, 2023, essentially throughout fall and winter, as a protective barrier against the virus and its sub-variants. Once the decision is implemented, Germany will join EU counterpart Cyprus in reinforcing mandatory mask usage after initially removing it.

German Flag Flying In Front Of An Official Government Building In Berlin, Germany

Why Are Masks Necessary During Winter?

Colder weather is a facilitator for pathogens responsible for respiratory diseases, such as Covid, as they tend to spread more easily. It is also a period where the number of indoor gatherings increase, particularly over the holidays when different households mix, further fueling infections. Throughout the crisis, winters have been notoriously the harshest.

Tourists Crossing Historical Bridge In Heildelberg Old Town, Germany

Last year, the arrival of Omicron prompted virtually all of Europe to clamp down on incoming travel after a free summer, and it looks like this pattern will repeat itself in 2022. Although no brand new variants that are particularly worrying have emerged, Omicron's offspring have led to more upticks across the continent – including Germany.

Of course, the measure will be met with some resistance, both from locals who have had to navigate Covid rules for nearly three years now, to varying degrees of toughness, as well as tourists who are growing increasingly wary of countries where health requirements still apply – just take a look at Canada's poor tourist numbers lately.

Male Tourist Wearing A Face Mask As He Stands Before The Brandenburg Gate In Berlin, Capital Of Germany

Where Will Masks Be Needed?

Acting under the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), Germany's Ministry of Health will reinstate masks in the following settings:

  • Long-distance public transport, including intercity and cross-border trains and buses arriving into Germany
  • Airports within Germany and on intra-Germany, and Germany-bound flights
Plane Flying Over Skyscrapers In Frankfurt, Germany

The document makes no mention of a return to mask wearing outdoors, though that cannot discarded either. Karl Lauterbach, the Minister of Health at a Federal level, conceded that, if the situation ‘requires it', masks can be again made compulsory at ‘outdoor events'. Additionally, Germany's model of governance allows different states to enact their own rules.

German states are free to enforce social distancing rules in public spaces, as well as define capacity limits for large-scale event attendance, though all of these proposals are yet to be appraised. There are 16 German states in total, and they have clashed on a number of occasions before in regards to their pandemic strategies, so it remains to be seen how the restriction map in Germany will look like a couple of months from now.

Historic Town Of Freiburg Im Breisgau, Germany

What About Germany's Entry Rules?

At this moment in time, the Health Ministry has not advised the Federal Government to seal off borders again, impose testing requirements, or re-issue a ban on unvaccinated tourists. Entering Germany today, Americans and other foreign tourists, European or not, aren't subject to any health checks upon landing:

Young Female Tourist Posing In Front Of The Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany
  • No mandatory vaccination certificate
  • No pre-departure testing
  • No health control forms
  • No post-arrival testing
  • No quarantine irrespective of vaccination status

However, judging by Germany's history of Covid policies, nothing can be ruled out for certain. Travelers going to Germany in the fall or winter are advised to follow all the latest Travel Off Path updates regarding travel to Europe, as well as the official German Government website, where entry rules are set out.

Read More:

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Wednesday 19th of October 2022

Whatever happened to this? did they?


Thursday 11th of August 2022

Germany tries to be the China of Europe.


Thursday 11th of August 2022

what a joke. goodbye germany 👋


Wednesday 10th of August 2022

Karl Laterbach is a power mad bureaucrat running the Health Ministry. He is not even an epidemiologist yet he consistantly makes decisions based only on his personal unscientific beliefs.


Wednesday 10th of August 2022

As an Austrian I fear that we will have the same back home as soon as fall sets in.....I do not favor these measures, as I think the pandemic is not the same threat to any European health system as it was in the beginning. For that reason I find the reinstallation of Covid measures without even knowing which variant will be predominant or if there is any new variant of concern popping up in fall completely inadequate. For me it is nonsense - but for sure not communism. I find it too funny what Americans consider to be "communist" - I think the US is the country with not any clue what communism really means. I find American communism-paranoia really ridiculous and to me it shows the low level of education and the ignorance about international matters. We are all in free countries and that enables us to have a critical eye on any government and to oppose any measures implemented by any government - that is the big difference from dictatorships who accept only one point of view and where there is no freedom of speech. Dictatorships will send anyone to prison or even kill people for having a different opinion. That is exactly what happens with communist governments (North Korea or China, even if China is anything but communist but just a brutal dictatorship with a very capitalist economic system) or with fascist regimes like in Hungary, Russia or that what Trump and his supporters want to implement in the wake up with your communist paranoia - critize measures if you are not happy with them but don't give them a label of something what you don't have any idea of.....


Thursday 11th of August 2022

@Stephan, The word “communism” is often being used figuratively meaning anything that includes autoritarisme, regardless of specific political philosophies. But I find it funny how you are throwing words around labeling certain countries or individuals, that you obviously don’t like, as “fascist”, while at the same time criticizing others for doing the exact same with “communism”. Your argument doesn’t help the cause you are trying to put forward.


Wednesday 10th of August 2022

@Stephan, as an Australian who apparently doesn't know what season it is, I don't think I will be taking your criticism of Americans too seriously.

Tom P.

Wednesday 10th of August 2022


🤦 One does not have to be American to be concerned (not paranoid!) about government overreach. By the way, I am Canadian. Not American. 51 years old. I have many friends from former Soviet Union and Ukraine, and Romania and Yugoslavia. And from Asian and South American countries. They all tell me how gradually and incrementally communism is accomplished. What is happening with the Covid agenda, is communism indeed. Yes, indeed. Read some history. Also, read and listen to some Jordan Peterson. Donald Trump is not fascist. Are you serious? 🤦 The marxist leftist woke propaganda has caused irreparable social, political, economic, and spiritual damage. 🤦 May God help us all.