German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is facing understandable backlash for his choice to abstain from wearing a mask onboard a flight. While it is right to question Scholz’s discernment, his actions make clear that it is time for Germany to ditch its airplane mask rule.
Scholz Leads The Way: Time For Germany To Eliminate Airplane Mask Rule
While much of the world has loosened its masks rules onboard airplanes, Germany’s strict rule remains in place and legislators are considering extending the mandate through April 2023.
But while average Germans must wear a mask while flying, the Chancellor was pictured onboard a German government Airbus A340-300 without a mask…as were the vast majority of passengers onboard, mostly other politicians, their aides, and journalists.
NEW – German Chancellor Scholz and Economy Minister Habeck travel to Canada together with a delegation and journalists.
No masks inside the plane, contrary to existing laws & regulations.pic.twitter.com/MT5BTX4l1g
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 22, 2022
To make matters worse, when asked to justify the apparent flouting of the rules (Germany’s Infection Protection Act makes no explicit exemption for government flights), a government spokesperson said:
- Air Force flights were exempt (again, there is no such exemption in the rules)
- All passengers had to represent a negative PCR test prior to boarding (not an option for “the folks”)
The whole “rules for thee, but not for me” strikes at the heart of why so many are so skeptical of government COVID-19 policy.
Remember the Mayor of Denver, Colorado? He told us not to travel…from the airport. Oops.
Remember the Governor of California? He told us to stay home but was found dining out with friends without masks at an upscale restaurant in Napa Valley. Oops.
But the “rules for thee, but not for me” strikes me as more than just hypocrisy. It reveals that the politicians don’t actually believe in masks. And from a risk-benefit perspective, I don’t either. I’m not anti-mask in that I support those who wish to wear them and would even gladly wear one if asked by an immunocompromised person. But I think with the progress we’ve made with both COVID-19 vaccines and treatment options, it is time to leave that choice to every person.
Now is the ideal time for the Bundestag to let Germans decide for themselves if they will mask. Let’s hope the Chancellor’s hypocrisy is a catalyst for change. Strong leadership may have been wearing a mask in the first place to show that even Scholz is not above the law, but perhaps even stronger leadership is admitting that while masks provide objective protection, wearing one should be left to the conscience of each person.
I flew Lufthansa earlier this month and found it absurd that first class passengers were asked to wear masks…I was more than six feet away from the nearest passenger. In that sense, I get why the Chancellor may have felt masks were unnecessary in his private cabin on the aircraft. But his decision to ditch the mask and the decision of most onboard the A340 to do the same thing should be a catalyst for Germany to drop its airplane mask mandate sooner rather than later.
image: Kentaro Iemoto