Masks are no longer compulsory in nursing homes in Baden-Württemberg. The facilities should decide for themselves whether masks have to be worn in common rooms.
Baden-Württemberg is tipping the mask requirement for residents of nursing homes on its own. Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) said in Stuttgart that the facilities were informed of this innovation by letter on Friday. The homes and facilities for the disabled could now decide for themselves whether they want to stick to the mask requirement for residents in common rooms to protect against the corona virus.
At the urging of the state, the federal government presented a catalog with questions and answers on the controversial paragraphs of the Infection Protection Act. “After that, in our opinion, it is justifiable to waive the obligation to wear a mask in common rooms,” said Lucha. It is important to enable social contacts. Employees, on the other hand, must continue to wear an FFP2 mask.
The FDP called the relief for residents “long overdue”. Lucha could have decided this almost two months ago. “That would have saved care and disabled facilities a lot of trouble and avoided frustration with politics,” said social expert Jochen Haussmann. In the interests of all those affected, the step can only be welcomed, said the SPD health expert Florian Wahl. “But many of those affected will also ask why the country only acted now.”
The minister had spoken out against the regulation since the federal law came into force on October 1. This stipulates that the mask must be worn by the residents in the common rooms and may only be removed in their own rooms. The Green politician has repeatedly argued that this cannot be reconciled with the right to self-determination and social participation. Institutions and their sponsors had also protested against this.
criticism from patient advocates
The German Foundation for Patient Protection is irritated by the country’s decision. “There is no doubt that the mask requirement for nursing home residents is an unreasonable encroachment on their fundamental rights,” said the head of the foundation, Eugen Brysch. But the grotesque provision is part of federal law. That’s why a federal state cannot deviate from it on its own.” If many residents were infected, “the buck lies with the operators”. Brysch called on the traffic light coalition to change the law.
In its letter, the Ministry of Health in Stuttgart points out that “particularly in the case of a high regional incidence or acute outbreaks, residents should be recommended to wear a mask within the residential groups, provided this is tolerated”. Lucha pointed out that the Federal Ministry of Labor had also made a clarification on workshops for people with disabilities. There, too, there is now “room for interpretation with regard to the obligation to wear a mask, so that social participation and community activities are also possible for people with a high need for protection”.