The new corona rules agreed by the federal and state governments have been in effect in Lower Saxony since Monday. This includes a stricter mask requirement. Only medical masks are allowed instead of everyday masks in the closed rooms of companies and shops as well as in local traffic. The requirement expressly also applies to the associated parking spaces. However, children up to and including 14 years of age are still allowed to wear everyday masks. Children up to and including five years of age are still completely exempt from the mask requirement.
The contact restrictions in force since January 10th have been extended to February 14th. After that, the members of a household are only allowed to meet one other person – also in private. Exceptions apply to children up to three years of age and to persons accompanying people with disabilities.
The Greens in particular criticized this as inadequate and called for further relaxation for children.
A federal regulation should also mean that more people than before are relocating their work from the office to the home office. This regulation is to come into force in the middle of the week and apply until March 15. It stipulates that employers must enable their employees to work from home “if there are no compelling operational reasons to prevent this”. Employer representatives had largely criticized the regulation.
Schools should also become emptier. After the Christmas holidays, Lower Saxony went a separate way and had specified the alternate model for elementary school students and graduating classes with half classes, which were taught alternately at home and at school.
The government is still sticking to this, but with one crucial difference: the requirement to be present has been lifted. So now the parents can decide whether or not to send the students in these classes to school.
Education Minister Grant Hendrik Tonne (SPD) expects that under the new conditions, more than 75 percent of the approximately 885,000 students are in distance learning. The lessons at home are expressly not a vacation, Tonne emphasized.