The FDP's deputy chairman Wolfgang Kubicki had spoken out in favor of abolishing mandatory face masks on Monday. Giffey expressed skepticism on Tuesday (Feb. 15, 2022) after the Senate meeting: "I think the issue of masks is the last step we take in the return to normality. Whether we're already there on March 20, I'm not sure."
Giffey: rapid phase-out of mandatory masks "unrealistic"
Berlin's Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey does not consider the demand for a general abolition of the mask mandate to be realistic.
Masks as the "last step" in the return to normality
Responsibility beyond March 20
Instead, Giffey advocated for keeping an eye on pandemic developments over the next four weeks. "To say in general that all masks will no longer be needed as of March 20 - that has to be considered very carefully," said the deputy chairwoman of the Conference of Minister Presidents. "We continue to have a responsibility beyond March 20 to make sure that the infection situation doesn't get out of hand. After all, we can't just decide on a date after which everything is over. The virus doesn't care about that."
Forderung nach einer Notfallregelung nach Mitte März
Giffey also called for an emergency regulation for the period after the previous Coronavirus safety measures expire in March. "After the federal legal basis ends on March 19, we will have a regulatory gap," the deputy chairwoman of the Conference of Minister Presidents said on Tuesday. "There is widespread clarity that we need to proceed with the opening in a gradual manner." She added that there needed to exist a possibility to take precautionary steps after March 20.
Toolkit of measures for infection hotspots
Giffey emphasized the need for a federal legal basis that would leave the individual states with a toolkit to use in case of emergencies. "If there is a Coronavirus hotspot, if there is an extremely stressful situation in a hospital, in a nursing home: Can we then react accordingly and, for example, put in place visitor restrictions?" That emergency regulation neededs to be in place, she said. "It is important in such cases that we don't have to wait until a new law is passed in three months," Giffey said.
Gradual opening plan to be decided
The heads of the federal and state governments plan to discuss a three-stage opening plan on Wednesday (Feb. 16, 2022). Restrictions on social, cultural and economic life could thus be gradually repealed until March 20. After that, basic measures such as mandatory medical masks are to remain in place.