Alas, the rules have finally changed. Now those in major cities including Köln are facing a massive resurgence in new Covid-19 infections. And slowly each cluster and or hot spot is developing new ways to control spread. While the rules are accessible on most Stadt homepages and on the daily news they are ever changing by state, city and business sector. But the best and latest rule of all is masks MUST be worn in shopping and pedestrian areas throughout. What this means is you can no longer loiter in front of a business fumbling to find and put on your mask before entering a shop. You instead MUST wear your mask from the moment you enter the street and until your journey is concluded by getting in your vehicle or walking out of the said area. And if you are like me, where trains make most of the way to such areas, you MUST be in a mask your entire excursion. And from the looks of the streets around primetime no one wants to do this so everything is virtually empty. And I like it this way! I can jaywalk and cross on the red man without scrutiny and shop without having to constantly shout "abstand Bitte!" Because just like Americans, Germans really like the frische luft ohne Maske. And if they cannot breathe with liberty all the way to Aldi Süd they would much rather stay home. Bleibt da! 

Here are the streets, places and spaces you must wear a mask in Köln!

Aachener Straße (Innenstadt und Braunsfeld)

Bonner Straße (Innenstadt und Bayenthal)

Breite Straße

Brüsseler Straße


Dellbrücker Hauptstraße

Deutzer Freiheit

Dürener Straße



Hauptstraße (Rodenkirchen)

Höninger Weg (Zollstock)

Kalker Hauptstraße


Neusser Straße

Maastrichter Straße


Porz Zentrum


Sülzburgstraße/Berrenrather Straße

Venloer Straße

Wiener Platz/Frankfurter Straße

Zülpicher Straße

in der Altstadt

auf den Kölner Ringen

auf dem Rheinufer linksrheinisch zwischen Mülheimer Brücke und Südbrücke

Rheinboulevard/Rheinpromenade rechtsrheinisch

Outside of this new rule there are some new numbers for groups gathering indoors and outdoors, alcohol sales, area curfews and local business guidelinesUnfortunately, rules that are in areas like Berlin have not been adopted in the NRW i.e. z.B. wearing a mask in the office and only being able to remove it at your personal work station or office desk. But I was thankful to find a freshly printed sign from a local business not in the realm of retail asking people to wear a mask. I feel like people are just doing whatever here and they have been doing this with little to no scrutiny since the pandemic began. I find people staring at me for wearing a mask outdoors, or in the hallway leading up to my gym or while waiting for the train. But now it feels really good that adherence is changing and I am totally fine with it. But I also see a direct correlation with empty stores and quiet streets because people just do not want to protect themselves and others unless it is law. I hate to say I told you so but crossing streets with 20.7 people or having to enter a Rewe teeming with students from the local gymnasium is just as bad as being in direct contact with someone infected. So wearing a mask in these areas is vital especially now. 

Make this easier on yourself. Carry a back up mask. Plan your journey. This too shall pass.