In view of the criticism of a flight with passengers without corona masks, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) referred to “clear rules” for government flights. At a press conference in Newfoundland on Tuesday (local time), 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 stir. 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.
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.