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.)
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.
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).