News item

End of face mask requirement in public transport and travel restrictions from 23 May

The corona barometer, which had been at code yellow since March of this year, is deactivated. This has been decided by the Consultative Committee. As a result, as of Monday 23 May, the face mask requirement on public transportation and the Passenger Locator Form will disappear for most trips.

The Consultative Committee notes that infections and the number of new hospital admissions are on a downward trend. The reproduction rate for infections and hospital admissions remains consistently below 1, indicating a markedly weaker virus circulation. The number of beds taken up in intensive care units has also been fluctuating around 100 for quite some time, remaining well below the threshold of 300.

  1. Face mask requirement

The face mask requirement is abolished everywhere except in hospitals, medical cabinets (at doctor's offices) and pharmacies. Wearing a face mask on public transportation is therefore no longer required.

However, wearing a face mask is still recommended in very busy places or in healthcare settings such as in residential care centres or at the dentist's office, physiotherapist, psychologist or speech therapist. Proper ventilation of indoor spaces continues to be strongly advised because it is highly effective against virus transmission and is generally good for our well-being, health and productivity.

  1. Travel

The ban on non-essential travel from outside the European Union is lifted. The following requirements are also abolished, the requirement to get tested on days 1 and 7, the 10-day quarantine, and the ability to present:

  • the Passenger Locator Form
  • a valid certificate of vaccination, recovery or testing

However, this does not apply to travellers coming from a country with a new variant of concern. Those travellers are still subject to the current rules.

  1. Pandemic preparedness 

Since the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, our lines of defence have been bolstered, for example related to testing, contact tracing, vaccination, ventilation, health care capacity, pandemic surveillance (including genome sequencing), and mental well-being. The Committee wants to embed this defence in a sustainable way and requests the advice of the Covid Focal Point, which will work closely with the federated entities for this purpose.

The IMC on Public Health will investigate whether and how an additional booster shot can provide better protection against any new wave.

The Minister of Health will continue to explore the epidemiological value of the Corona Certificate and its place in the barometer.