With the number of corona cases rising across Germany, criticism of mask-grumpy people is growing. “In a democratic constitutional state, it is essential that legally binding rules are also accepted and adhered to,” said the Berlin constitutional lawyer Ulf Buermeyer on Sunday in the Tagesspiegel. “For example, mask-grumpy people behave deeply undemocratically if they do not recognize legal limits.” They also behaved in a lack of solidarity, “because crises like the corona pandemic can only be dealt with effectively if everyone pulls along”.
Buermeyer is one of the founders of the Society for Freedom Rights (GFF) and, together with the journalist Philip Banse, designs the weekly politics podcast “State of the Nation” – the question of which restrictions are necessary to contain the corona crisis, has been bothering him for months.
Buermeyer says politics has a major impact on people accepting regulations. Two factors are decisive here: “On the one hand, anti-corona measures must be proportionate, i.e. based in particular on a scientific basis, and on the other hand they must be plausibly justified and communicated.” This has been the case with most of the measures in recent months. “Errors such as the total ban on demonstrations in the spring were quickly corrected.”
Police officers are bullied, spat at and coughed at
Nevertheless, the disputes about compliance with the corona rules are escalating more and more frequently. At least that’s what the police union (GdP) explains. Her deputy boss Jörg Radek told the dpa news agency at the weekend: “There is still a high level of acceptance for the corona rules, but we can also feel that the mood is starting to become more aggressive – for example when we as the police take the measures want to enforce. ”
And: “Then there is resistance. It starts with insults, then there is bullying, spitting, and coughing. Our colleagues are experiencing all of this in this pandemic. “
Above all, the mask requirement and the distance requirement repeatedly cause disputes. The mask requirement was introduced in April by the first countries in local public transport and retail, and some cities such as Jena in Thuringia made progress. Most recently, it was partly extended to other public areas with crowds.
In Berlin, drastically stricter rules are to be adopted on Tuesday. According to the final draft of the new Infection Protection Ordinance, a mask requirement should apply in markets and other public places. In addition, a maximum of five people can stay together in public spaces – or several members of two households.
As can be seen from reports from the state police, there have recently been disputes over corona rules almost daily. In a supermarket in Zwickau, Saxony, a man recently lashed out with an ax when he was reminded of the mask requirement. In Mülheim in North Rhine-Westphalia, a 66-year-old caught a 55-year-old with her car after shopping at the supermarket and injured him slightly. He had previously asked the woman to wear mouth and nose protection and to keep her distance. In Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, five police officers were slightly injured during a check in a bar. And controls escalated in rail traffic too, where mask requirements apply.
The operations do not only come from so-called mask refusers. Citizens who want to be protected have recently been demanding their protective rights more strongly and, in some cases, more aggressively and, for example, pointed out mask refusers of their misconduct. “That is why there are now more such operations,” says police unionist Radek – but this trend cannot be proven with figures.
The effort for the police to enforce the corona general directives is sometimes considerable. In the Saxon Erzgebirgskreis, which last Monday to Corona risk area was declared, the local police officers from the Saxon riot police and the main customs office in Erfurt came to help over the weekend. A total of 53 officers were on duty there.
In the district town of Annaberg-Buchholz, violations were punished in several restaurants. In one pub, the employees could neither prove a hygiene concept nor guarantee contact tracking – the pub was closed.
“Accommodation bans largely pointless”
According to the constitutional lawyer Buermeyer, who was a judge in the state of Berlin for many years, the bans on accommodation in particular have lost a lot of trust in the past few days: “Such rules are largely pointless from a medical point of view, but have a massive impact on the basic rights of travelers and people, who operate hotels and pensions. From a fundamental rights perspective, this does not fit together – it is not for nothing that the accommodation bans did not stand up to review by the courts, ”he says.
Those who make political decisions in the pandemic should, in their opinion, learn from the “fiasco with the bans on accommodation” and derive measures from medical knowledge. “Restrictions must also be justified in such a way that citizens understand them.”