As from 2 February, the obligation to wear a protection mask in long-distance trains and buses ends/Photo: Femi Awoniyi/TAC

Germany: New legal regulations in February 2023

Like almost every new month, February 2023 brings some important changes, including new laws, for people living in Germany. For example, no more compulsory masks on long-distance trains, more drinking fountains in public spaces and 16-year olds will also be allowed to vote in the European Parliament elections in Germany in future. These and other regulations come into force in February.

No more obligation to wear masks on public transport

As from 2 February, the obligation to wear a protection mask in long-distance trains and buses ends.

Several federal states – Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein – have already abolished the mask requirement in regional transport. In all others, it is to be abolished by the beginning of February at the latest. This means that from February, passengers will no longer have to wear a mask on local and long-distance public transport throughout Germany.

After almost three years of the coronavirus pandemic, another piece of normality will return to people’s everyday lives in the country.

The nationwide obligation to wear masks in medical and nursing facilities will however continue to apply until 7 April.


Corona: Changes to occupational health and safety

The Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance ends on 2 February, two months earlier than planned. Originally, it was to apply from 1 October 2022 to 7 April 2023. The government said its decision is justified “by the steady decline in the frequency and severity of infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus” and the “generally favourable forecasts with regard to the medium and long-term course of infections”.


Corona testing compulsory for people entering from China

In view of the wave of infections in China, the Federal Government has decided to amend the Corona Virus Entry Ordinance. Among other things, testing will be mandatory for people entering the country from China as from 7 January 2023.


More drinking water fountains in public places

All citizens should have access to high-quality drinking water in public spaces, which is the goal of the EU Drinking Water Directive. Where technically feasible and in accordance with local needs, municipalities are to install drinking water fountains – for example, in parks, pedestrian zones and shopping arcades. The law came into force on 12 January 2023.


Voting for the European Parliament from 16

In future, 16- and 17-year-olds will also be able to vote at European Parliament elections in Germany. The next European elections will take place in spring 2024.


New rules for car first aid kits

From 1 February, a new rule will apply to first-aid kits in cars. According to the German standards institute DIN, from then on drivers must carry a first-aid kit in their vehicle that contains two face masks in addition to the previous contents.

Meanwhile, the so-called triangular cloth and the first-aid cloth are no longer required.

However, it is not necessary to buy a new first-aid kit to comply with the new standard. It is sufficient to add the two masks to your existing kit.

Femi Awoniyi/© AfricanCourierMedia

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