German citizens will face fines of up to €5,000 for breaking the government’s updated rules on wearing masks as the country begins to ease lockdown restrictions.
The mask regulations went into place on Monday, yet will differ slightly by region as Germany’s federal system allows each of its 16 states considerable autonomy in determining rules. Masks will be required for people travelling on public transport and entering shops throughout most of the country.
The state of Bavaria will impose the strictest fines to force compliance with the updated regulations. Those caught travelling on public transport or entering a shop without a mask will be subject to a €150 fine, which could be raised to €300 for those who repeatedly violate the rules.
Shop owners in Bavaria will face the highest fines, up to €5,000 if they fail to provide their employees with masks, according to Deutsche Welle.
Homemade cloth masks will be permitted as the government is only requiring that people wear “mouth-nose-protection” — an intentionally broad term to allow people to craft their own masks should they be unable to secure medical-grade equipment.
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The updated regulations come as Germany announced that it would be easing lockdown restrictions, allowing non-essential shops to open for the first time since the measures to stem the spread of the Chinese coronavirus were introduced in March.
Currently, the government has not laid out a timetable for when bars, restaurants, theatres, and cinemas will be allowed to open. However, hair salons are expected to be permitted to open on May 4th. Religious gatherings and large public events will continue to be banned, as well.
Over the weekend, Berliners took to the streets to protest the lockdown measures, with protesters holding signs reading “stop the pharmaceutical lobby” and wearing shirts calling for “freedom”, with others claiming that Chancellor Angela Merkel is “banning life”, euronews reports.
Berlin Police said that they were forced to call in reinforcements and arrested protesters after they refused to obey the social distancing regulations imposed by the government.
“A total of 105 people were identified, and administrative offences and criminal proceedings for violations of the containment measures in connection with the Infection Protection Act were initiated,” the said.
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