SThe PD, Greens and FDP have announced that they will not be extending the “epidemic situation of national importance”, which expires at the end of November. So far, it has been the basis for numerous and comprehensive instruments for combating pandemics. The traffic light parties now want to move to “targeted” instruments, regardless of the “special right” of the epidemic situation, as stated in the draft law.
It is to be debated in the Bundestag on Thursday and decided next week. What then will be allowed to combat the fourth wave? Who decides about it? And what about the schools? An overview of the most important questions.
What measures are possible in the future?
The measures to combat pandemic should continue to include distance requirements, mask requirements and 2-G and 3-G concepts. There are also hygiene concepts, for example for hotels and museums. For schools and universities, conditions can still be imposed and the specification of contact details, for example in restaurants, can be ordered.
Who decides about it?
As before, the federal government provides the framework within which the states decide whether to make use of the measures. The draft law does not provide for the participation of their parliaments. There it says: “A decision by the state parliaments appears in view of the lower level of intervention in the preventive measures required in the future. . . no longer required. This takes better account of the need for quick response options. “
What will not work in the future?
If the epidemic situation comes to an end, the federal states can no longer fall back on the large catalog of Paragraph 28a of the Infection Protection Act. This provides for extensive options, such as general exit and contact restrictions. Closing restaurants, shops or theaters should also no longer be possible in principle; there should no longer be a lockdown. Even a detour to the extensive catalog, which was only introduced in September, should no longer be possible in the future. It provides that a country – in the event that a national epidemic no longer exists – can have its parliament determined that it has been particularly affected by the pandemic. The many instruments are then available again. The draft law wants to delete this regulation.
What if there are local outbreaks, especially in schools?
Many are concerned with the question of whether school closings will be ruled out in the future. A distinction will have to be made here: After the reform, there will no longer be widespread closings. In individual cases, if a school develops into a hotspot, it can still be closed. This should also apply to other places such as bars or theaters. The federal states must then fall back on the general clause of the Infection Protection Act. Overall, the draft makes it clear: On the basis of the general clause, individual measures, for example against sick people and those suspected of being infected, are still possible, and communal facilities could also be closed in individual cases.
What is true in the workplace?
There will also be a 3-G rule for workplaces in the future, but no details are yet to be found in the draft law. Corona rapid tests should be free for everyone again, as the health policy spokeswoman for the SPD, Greens and FDP confirmed on Tuesday in Berlin. Anyone who does not want to disclose their vaccination status to the employer should be able to fall back on it. For individual groups, such as those employed in care, the parties are considering two mandatory tests per week for vaccinated persons as well.
Is there a going back?
The draft law does not affect the possibility of establishing an “epidemic situation of national scope”. If there were a majority in the Bundestag for this statement, the extensive catalog would also be activated again. And the Infection Protection Act can also be changed at any time. The traffic light parties have already announced a fundamental reform.