BUndescancer Olaf Scholz (SPD) referred to “clear rules” for government flights in view of the criticism of a flight with passengers without corona masks. At a press conference in Newfoundland on Tuesday, Scholz emphasized that there were clear regulations regarding the readiness to fly.
With a view to an upcoming cabinet meeting, including the Infection Protection Act on Wednesday in Berlin, the chancellor said: He is happy about the very intensive and very timely preparation of the necessary legislation so that the right decisions can be made in the autumn.
A video and photos of the chancellor and his deputy Robert Habeck (Greens) flying from Berlin to Montreal in Canada on Sunday caused a sensation. Economics Minister Habeck and journalists sitting close together without masks could be seen on it. A government spokesman then explained that there was no obligation to wear a mask on Air Force flights. “All participants of the trip must present a current negative PCR test before departure. This ensures a high level of protection.” All passengers had to be tested no more than 24 hours before departure.
Debate about requirements for civil flights triggered
In Germany, this triggered a debate about government protection requirements for all air travel. In general, there is a nationwide mask requirement for passengers and staff on airplanes – as well as on long-distance trains. The cabinet wants to launch the new corona protection rules for the fall on Wednesday – they still stipulate that masks must be worn on airplanes.
On the onward flight of the government plane to Newfoundland on Tuesday, there was again no obligation to wear a mask, but a corresponding recommendation. No change in the rules was planned for the return flight to Berlin on Wednesday night.
The Union calls on the federal government to disclose possible new findings on wearing masks on airplanes and trains. The legal policy spokesman for the parliamentary group, Günter Krings (CDU), told the Düsseldorf newspaper Rheinische Post that should the government have new assessments “that make it no longer seem necessary to wear a mask on planes and trains, then you should wear it as soon as possible share with the Bundestag. Before she authorizes herself to try it out on the government plane.”
As long as masks are compulsory on planes, “it must also apply to members of the government. Even the Secretary of Commerce is not above the law,” Krings said.
FDP speaks of a need for improvement
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr announced that the mask requirement on airplanes would be examined. “As soon as the cabinet has passed the final version of the Infection Protection Act, we will consult with our coalition partners and examine where there is a need for improvement,” Dürr told Der Spiegel on Tuesday still see a need for testing.”
He explained: “Shouldn’t there be test exceptions on commercial flights, for example? And what about European uniformity?” Experts will also be consulted on these and other questions.