After the recent announcement that lockdown measures will be eased slowly in the coming weeks throughout Germany, a lot of confusion has arisen about the specifics of new rules… particularly in regards to masks and when they should be worn, whether or not they’re mandatory, and of course, what kind of masks are suitable for daily use.
Well, to provide some clarity on the matter, Muenchen.de recently released a Mask FAQ (which you can read in German here), along with a list of local mask sellers (which you can read in German here). Below we’ve summarized the most important pieces of information for you in English.
First: Is Wearing a Mask in Munich Mandatory?
APRIL 20 UPDATE: Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder has officially announced a formal mask obligation throughout Bavaria starting on April 27 (watch the official statement here).
This Maskenpflicht will make it mandatory to cover one’s nose and mouth in shops of all sizes, in addition to public transport, whether with a mask or scarf. While this rule will come into effect on April 27, he also emphasized that individual municipalities may choose to roll this out sooner, particularly in harder-hit areas.
Prior to this announcement, wearing a mask was not considered mandatory, although both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder had repeatedly emphasized the importance of wearing masks when out in public.
What Kind of Mask Should I Wear?
No matter what, the new Maskenpflicht requires you to cover both your nose and mouth, whether with a mask or scarf. You can click here to read a very detailed rundown of different mask types by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, but in summary, for regular daily use by normal people not working in a healthcare setting, what they call “Community-Masken” (community masks) are sufficient.
Community-Masken (AKA Community Masks or DIY masks) are a general term for masks that cover the nose/mouth, but are made from commercially available fabrics and are therefore not suitable for healthcare contexts. While these masks are not sufficient for use by doctors, nurses, etc., what they do offer is a protective layer that helps contain larger droplets while limiting one’s ability to touch their nose/mouth with potentially contaminated hands.
In other words, while not cleared for medical use, these masks are better than nothing, and if you are a regular person not working in a healthcare setting at the moment, this is the type of mask you should be wearing (as medical-grade masks should be prioritized of course for those working in hospitals and clinics).
Where to Buy Masks in Munich
So where can you get a “community mask” to wear?
There are a lot of tutorials available online for you to sew your own (like this one), but there are also a lot of local businesses that have pivoted to selling these kinds of masks in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Here is a summary of local businesses in Munich selling community fabric masks based on the list from Muenchen.de here:
- Svenja Jander: This studio in Glockenbach is creating and selling washable fabric masks for 12 euros each. A list of places to buy them can be found in this post.
- Trachten Rausch: For masks made out of Trachten fabric for under 10 euros, you can place orders by phone, email or online through the Trachten Rausch website here.
- Café Erika: This cozy little Sendling cafe is open on Sundays from 12-3pm and is now offering masks in various sizes in addition to coffee and cake. They can be purchased in-store but it’s best to call ahead re: availability. Learn more here