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EXPLAINED: When do you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Spain?

EXPLAINED: When do you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Spain?
Whether you're going for a jog or just a leisurely walk in Spain, neither situation will require the use of a face mask outdoors anymore. But there are some exceptions to the rule. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

From today, Thursday February 10th 2022, it’s no longer compulsory to wear a face mask outdoors at all times in Spain. But there are some situations where mask wearing in outdoor settings is still required. 

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On Friday February 4th, the Spanish government decided that wearing a face mask in outdoor public spaces should no longer be compulsory, only three days after they used every trick in the book to maintain the measure.

READ MORE:  U-turn: Spain decides to ditch outdoor face mask rule

Masks were first made compulsory outdoors in Spain in May 2020 as the country emerged from the full national lockdown, the rule was then scrapped for six months from June to December 2021 as Covid infections dropped, but with the spike in Omicron cases this winter the government chose to reintroduce the outdoor mask rule rule last Christmas Eve. 

After approval by the regions and the Spanish cabinet, it was decided that the outdoor mask rule would be again lifted across all of Spain on Thursday February 10th.

But according to the BOE state bulletin which explains the legislation, there are still situations in outdoor public settings where everyone over the age of six has to wear a face mask. 

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When you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Spain:

  • At large, crowded events held in the open air where it’s not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others if seated, or in all cases where attendees are standing up. This includes concerts and sporting events.
  • At open-air transport platforms for train, tramway, metro etc

Although it's not mandatory to wear a face mask outdoors if walking along a crowded street where you can’t keep a 1.5 metre distance from others, the recommendation from Spain's Health Ministry is to wear one in busy areas.

Spain’s regions are also currently deciding whether school children should have to wear face masks on the playground, with most regional authorities leaning towards scrapping the mask rule.

It’s worth noting that it continues to be compulsory to wear a mask in all indoor situations except when eating and drinking or any other activity which is incompatible with mask wearing. 

READ ALSO: When will masks stop being mandatory indoors in Spain?

So carrying a face mask with you is necessary if you want to enter bars, restaurants, cafés, shops, libraries or any other indoor public building. 

It is also still mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport and if you are in a private vehicle with people who you don’t live with. 

Who is exempt from having to wear a mask indoors and outdoors 

  • Children under the age of six

  • People with breathing difficulties or respiratory problems whose condition could worsen as a result of wearing a face mask. 

  • Those with a disability or who are dependent who’s state of mind or conduct make it unfeasible for them to wear a mask.

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