/European Parliament to make wearing of face masks mandatory

European Parliament to make wearing of face masks mandatory

A European Parliament meeting in April | John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Assembly’s leaders approve plan for face masks and temperature checks.

The European Parliament will make it mandatory for MEPs and staff to wear face masks and have their temperature checked before entering its buildings.

The measures are part of a plan on easing coronavirus restrictions drawn up by Klaus Welle, the Parliament’s secretary-general. The plans were sent to senior MEPs on April 22 in an internal note, seen by POLITICO. They were approved by President David Sassoli and other senior MEPs on Monday as the assembly prepares for an increase in MEPs coming back to Brussels as their countries begin to ease lockdowns. No official date was given for the introduction of the new measures.

Welle’s plan calls for “obligatory wearing of community masks for everybody (including in Parliament’s official cars) except when being alone in the office,” as well as “mandatory checks of body temperature at all Parliament entrances.”

In March, the Parliament took a number of measures to deal with the pandemic, including banning visitors and advising MEPs to work remotely. Those measures will be in place until this Thursday.

Welle’s note also warned that although some MEPs are coming back to Brussels, the number of staff present on Parliament’s premises should be kept low and “only one” MEP’s accredited assistant should be at work in each lawmaker’s office. It also encouraged staff “whose presence is not absolutely indispensable” to continue teleworking.

A new meeting room with 350 seats was set up to “allow Members to be seated with social distancing during plenary more easily,” Welle’s note said.