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COVID-19 RULES

Where do you still need to wear a mask indoors in Spain? 

Now that the Spanish government has approved the law that scraps mask wearing in most indoor settings in Spain, we look at the exceptions, rules and recommendations that will be in place from April 20th.

Where do you still need to wear a mask indoors in Spain? 
The fact that Spanish authorities are now treating Covid-19 as an endemic disease similar to seasonal flu means they’re - for the most part - leaving it up to citizens to decide whether to wear a mask or not. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

After several weeks of speculation, Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias announced in early April that from Wednesday April 20th 2022, masks will no longer be required in the majority of indoor public settings in Spain. 

As expected, the Spanish Cabinet  passed the highly anticipated decree on April 19th, which means the law comes into force when the country’s state bulletin (BOE) is published the following day on Wednesday April 20th 2022.

According to Health Minister Carolina Darias, the specific details regarding mask wearing in this new stage of the Covid-19 pandemic are the same as those announced earlier in April, so there are no major last-minute changes.

Spanish authorities have named three indoor public settings where masks will still be required after April 20th 2022:

  • Hospitals and other health-related establishments (dental clinics, pharmacies, physiotherapy practices etc)
  • Care homes, for visitors and workers
  • All forms of public transport (airplanes, buses, trains, metros, taxis and ferries, the latter if a 1.5 metre distance can’t be kept indoors.)

READ MORE: What are the specific mask rules for travel in Spain now?

However, it will no longer be necessary to wear a mask inside bars, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums, concert halls, shopping centres, supermarkets, gyms and schools. 

In workplaces, it will be employers who decide whether staff should continue wearing masks, although the “general rule” is that face coverings are no longer mandatory. If staff can’t keep a 1.5 metre distance from other employees or customers, the recommendation for businesses that operate indoors is to keep masks on.

Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that those over 60, immunosuppressed people, pregnant women and people in their company continue with “responsible use” of face masks indoors. 

Employers will be able to require staff to keep wearing a mask inside their workplaces in Spain. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

For the rest of the population, health authorities also advise exercising “common sense” and “caution” when it comes to mask wearing.

Health officials still recommend:

  • Wearing a mask in the presence of vulnerable people
  • Wearing a mask in indoor spaces that aren’t well ventilated or crowded places where it isn’t possible to keep a 1.5 metre distance from others
  • Keeping a mask on in places where you don’t need to take it off to eat or drink ie. supermarkets, shops, cinemas, museums, churches etc

It will still be a requirement to wear a mask for ten days if infected with Covid-19, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias recently stressed. 

The Spanish government hasn’t said the Covid-19 pandemic is over, but their focus now is primarily on protecting high-risk groups, meaning that they’re treating Covid-19 as an endemic disease similar to seasonal flu.

There has been a very slight increase in Spain’s fortnightly Covid-19 infection rate following the Easter holidays – currently standing at 466 cases per 100,000 people – although health authorities aren’t carrying out the same rigorous recount of daily infections anymore.

Ultimately, citizens will have the freedom to decide whether they should wear a mask or not in most indoor settings, a decision they haven’t been able to make in 700 days. 

All things considered, it’s probably still worth keeping a mask handy in your pocket and exercising some common sense. 

Is it more important to you to take the mask off at all times or do you prefer to lessen your chances of catching Covid-19, the flu or other airborne diseases in situations where the risk is higher? 

From Wednesday April 20th, it’ll be your call (in most cases).

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

Member comments

  1. When I go out I am not wearing face covering more and more people are doing the same.

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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