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KN95 masks rule ignored in Germany

In general, throughout Germany masks are required when riding in anything with wheels. However, it was great to see maybe half the passengers in trains, buses, trams blissfully breaking the norm and wearing the softer, more comfortable blue and white pleated version. Last summer I experienced a rather strict enforcement of the KN95 stiff beak-like masks so I came equipped with a generous supply. After a couple days traveling within Germany, I happily pulled out my stateside blue/white versions. I never saw anyone being reprimanded for doing so.

Posted by
327 posts

Thank you for the report. We are heading there next month. I too have bought a bunch of KN 95’s andRS tours are requiring them.

I’ll just wear mine properly. And control what I can control. We are going to Oktoberfest and I like the idea of the mask that fits my face. I live with wildfire smoke and have been using kn 95’s on unsafe smoke days. They do agreat job filtering smoke. Hope they do as well filtering microbes. I’m thinking of bringing a small spray bottle of alcohol to spray the mask so I’m not wearing a Petri dish of whatever.

RS tours require a negative test at start of tour so I don’t want screw ups. This whole thing is stressing me out. When I booked this trip over a year ago I thought by now covid would be diminished by this fall. I want to go but the constant hum of covid stuff is taking away a lot of fun and excitement of going on a big trip.

Posted by
519 posts

You can now actually wear either mask, according the DB website. They are still very strict about mask wearing, but now you have a choice as to what kind you want to wear.

“DB has an urgent request to make of all passengers: when you are on a train, please be responsible and considerate by wearing a mask (medical-grade or FFP2), maintaining social distance and complying with hygiene regulations.Please note the regulations in force in Germany's different federal states.”
https://www.bahn.com/en/booking-information/safe-travel

Posted by
792 posts

I guess it depends on if you are serious about it or you are just getting by on the rules and, more so, the protection.
People who disagree with masks will always wear a regular surgical mask instead of an N95. A surgical mask lends itself to be pulled down easily to the chin, leaving your nose free. An N95, not so much. You never see an N95 down on someone’s chin.

Posted by
2852 posts

If you are going to wear surgical masks, my orthodontist's office recommended these level 3 masks. These provide more protection than the cheap surgical masks, adjust at the nose AND the chin for a tighter fit. The link is for pink but they also come in blue and green.

I am taking/wearing KN95 masks on the RS tour, transportation and where ever a lot of people gather. Out by myself, I will wear the level 3 masks. My only complaint is that a month's worth of masks take a lot of suitcase room so I had to decide which is most important and leave a few clothes and supplies home. A few more test packs then I'm ready to go.

Posted by
2453 posts

We are taking KN95 masks for our upcoming tours and will be wearing them diligently even outdoors in crowded situations such as at the Fringe Festival and the Tattoo. Masks may not be 100% effective but it is the best we can do. My cousin and his wife just came back from the UK. They dispensed with mask wearing because virtually no one else was wearing them and that includes on their tour or the general public. They have been traveling everywhere since the pandemic began and had come away unscathed so far. They let their guard down and, you guessed it, they both came back home with covid. The wife is really, really sick even after monoclonal antibody treatment.

Posted by
2976 posts

Rules without enforcement are suggestions. I've been to recent outdoor and indoor events where the signage "strongly suggested" everyone wear a mask, but only a tiny percentage did so.

Ensure N-95 masks are NIOSH certified, as only 60 percent are.

Cloth masks do almost nothing to keep you from getting COVID.

Posted by
427 posts

KN95 is a designation applicable to Chinese-made respirators that are sold in the U.S., and that (purportedly) meet certain filtration standards. My understanding is that they are not suitable for use in medical settings (only N95 respirators are) but are accepted for other purposes in the U.S.

I don't believe they're sold in Europe.

Instead, you should find the similar European standard FFP2 respirator. They're very easy to buy in Europe (in France, at least and I suspect as well in other countries) so I'm always puzzled why Americans would stockpile KN95 respirators and haul them across the pond when a comparable one is widely available here.

Not sure why the original poster is happy about people being less careful and taking a lower level of precaution against infection by what has been clearly shown to be a very dangerous virus. Seems like an odd thing to be happy about.

Posted by
27342 posts

I believe the FFP2 masks just have ear loops, don't they? I have a feeling they don't fit as snuggly as N95s.

Posted by
1351 posts

I will be using N95 masks made in the US by 3M for my upcoming trip to Scotland and then London. I have the KN95 masks made in China and, while they do a good job of covering my face, they have a slight odor that is somewhat bothersome. The 3M mask covers my face snugly and has two rubber loops that go over your head instead of rubbing on your ears. It is more comfortable than the KN95 mask AND does a better job of covering my face. I will be extra cautious while riding in the Rabbies tour van (Western Highlands tour) wearing this mask and feel confident for the protection.