Obligatory Use of Face Masks in Spain Now Significantly Eased
Spanish government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez (left) and minister for health Carolina Darias at the press conference announcing the new mask rules (Photo: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa)
Tourists visiting Spain from today will be able to enjoy considerably more relaxed rules relating to the use of face masks.
The government has announced that masks will no longer be obligatory in indoor areas, including bars and restaurants – albeit with some exceptions. They will still have to be worn in hospitals, health centres and pharmacies, for air, rail and bus transport (but not in their vicinity – for example, airport terminals), and on boats when a safe distance (1.5 metres) cannot be guaranteed.
They are also still highly recommended for people considered to be especially vulnerable to contracting COVID, including those 60 years and over or with immunodeficient conditions or high-risk illnesses, and pregnant women.
According to minister for health Carolina Darias, the government has been able to adopt the new measures thanks to Spain’s high rates of COVID-19 vaccination and the improving epidemiological situation. She noted that 92 per cent of the population – 39 million people – had completed the full vaccination schedule, “which has resulted in rates of the illness descending and most of the country now being at a low level of risk”.
The decision to ease face mask use was reached earlier this month during a meeting in Toledo of the National Inter-Territorial Health System Council, comprising representatives of Spain’s 27 regions, including Murcia. According to Darias, those present were “almost unanimous” in approving the new measures.
Regions will have the freedom to adapt some of the new protocols but in general they will be required to follow the overall measures formally introduced nationally in today’s official government bulletin.
No longer will it be necessary to wear masks in events attracting large crowds – such as sports competitions and concerts (both outdoor and indoor) – but the regional governments retain the right to determine the maximum number of people allowed to attend these events.
Masks will not be obligatory in schools or workplaces, although in the latter case those responsible for health and safety will be able to evaluate the risks and establish specific preventative measures if necessary – such as the use of face masks.
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