The Obligation to Wear a Face Mask in NRW


In the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), wearing a face mask is currently mandatory. A distinction is made between everyday masks (covering the mouth and nose, and made of fabric), a surgical mask (medical face mask and a respiratory mask (of the standard KN95/N95, FFP2 or more).

The obligation to wear a respiratory mask is mandatory (regardless of seating and the minimum distance):

  • during the use of transport services of passenger transport and its facilities;

The obligation to wear a surgical mask is mandatory (regardless of seating and the minimum distance):


  • indoors at cultural and leisure facilities with public and customer traffic;
  • in medical practices and similar health care facilities;
  • at educational events (including examinations);
  • in queues at markets and outdoor points of sale;
  • during religious services and at gatherings for religious worship in enclosed spaces;
  • in enclosed spaces of catering establishments when leaving the seat;
  • when using services close to the body and when exercising contact sports;
  • indoors at trade facilities with public and customer traffic.

The obligation to wear an everyday mask is mandatory outdoors (regardless of seating and provided that the minimum distance is maintained):

  •  at markets and similar points of sale;
  •  in the vicinity of open retail stores;
  • at gatherings for religious worship;
  • at other gatherings, meetings and events permitted in public spaces with a number of participants exceeding 25 persons;
  • on playgrounds;
  • in Cologne until and including June 28, 2021: on certain squares and streets in public spaces. You can find an overview here [DE - "Karte und Liste der öffentlichen Orte mit Maskenpflicht"].

Note: Anyone who disregards the obligation to wear a face mask for medical purposes is prohibited to use the corresponding offers or enter facilities. Violation of the mask requirement on public transportation is a misdemeanor and will be punished. A fine of 150 euros applies.