Corona measures A meal without a mask in the restaurant: Most restrictions lifted
Düsseldorf · A bit of normality is returning in North Rhine-Westphalia - the facemask mandate has for the most part been lifted. While restaurateurs report happy reactions from their guests, many people continue to exercise caution - for example when shopping.
Go and help yourself from the buffet - without a facemask if you like. After a good two years of pandemic, cafés and restaurants in NRW were back to normal on Sunday. The reason: the mask mandate in public places no longer applies. The state-wide access restrictions 3G (vaccinated, recently recovered or tested) and 2Gplus (vaccinated, recently recovered, plus tested or boosted) have also been dropped.
The new situation was visible, amongst others, in restaurants in Düsseldorf. Restaurateur Kerstin Rapp-Schwan told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that in the entire restaurant, guests can now choose to not wear masks. Reactions have been mixed, she said. "Some people are relieved, others didn’t even know." But there were also a lot of happy people.
There is, however, no obligation for restaurants to abolish all regulations that were introduced during the pandemic. Restaurateurs can keep some restrictions in their businesses or on their premises as they see fit. Several politicians, including NRW Minister President Hendrik Wüst (CDU), have also called for people to continue to wear facemasks voluntarily in public indoor areas.
According to the NRW Ministry of Health, the mask mandate will remain in only a few areas, such as local public transport - i.e. travelling by bus and train. It also continues to apply in medical facilities such as doctors' surgeries and hospitals, as well as in nursing homes, in order to provide special protection for the elderly and persons with underlying health issues. Facemasks must also still be worn in state institutions where there are large numbers of people, such as refugee and homeless shelters and prisons.
But shopping can now be done without a facemask. However, in some places where shops were open on Sunday, there were still a lot of masks to be seen, as was reported by a dpa reporter at an open Sunday shopping day in Gelsenkirchen: Many people continued to wear mouth-nose protection - not only in the shops, but also on the street.
The rate of new Coronavirus infections in NRW is still quite high, but the trend is downwards. On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded an incidence of 1214.7 - after 1247.9 the day before and 1405.2 a week earlier. The value describes the number of new Coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants reported within seven days.
In two districts, the incidence was still above the 2000 mark: in the district of Minden-Lübbecke (2487.2) and in the district of Borken (2472.2). According to the RKI, however, fewer and fewer health offices are reporting their data at the weekend. Especially at the weekend and at the beginning of the week, daily fluctuations should therefore not be overestimated.
The so-called hospitalisation incidence was reported at 6.73 on Sunday - after 7.08 on Saturday. The indicator describes the number of persons infected with Coronavirus admitted to hospitals per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
On Monday, schools in NRW will also begin classes without mandatory masks. After many weeks, wearing a mouth-nose covering in the classroom was compulsory for the last time last Friday.
Original article: dpa
Translation: Jean Lennox