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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? 
Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (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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FACE MASKS

Spain’s Iberia calls for government to scrap face mask rule on planes

Spain’s flagship airline Iberia has criticised the Spanish government’s ongoing mask requirement for passengers on planes bound to the country, stressing that it “doesn’t make any sense” and “it affects tourism”.

Spain's Iberia calls for government to scrap face mask rule on planes

Although the majority of Spain’s domestic and travel Covid-19 restrictions were lifted before the summer of 2022, one of the only rules that still remains in place is the obligation of wearing a face mask on public transport. 

This includes aeroplanes, buses, trains, taxis and some ferries, but mask wearing isn’t compulsory at airports, ports or bus and train stations. 

For officials of Spain’s flagship airline Iberia, the time has come for this rule to be lifted.

“One of the airline industry’s main concerns is that mask wearing doesn’t make much sense,” Iberia’s Corporate Communications Director Juan Cierco said during a business talk organised by Spanish news agency Europa Press on Monday.

“We’re the only country along with China and one or two more that still has this rule.”

Cierco added, whilst putting on a mask to prove a point, that: “Here we are with seven ministers, none of them are wearing a mask, so getting on a plane now to or from Spain and being forced to wear a mask doesn’t make sense”.

The corporate director stressed that he wasn’t questioning the view of health experts but couldn’t understand why almost all other countries ditched the mask rule for public transport long ago.

“We should take off our masks because it’s affecting tourism and business now. Many international passengers tell us that they prefer to fly to other destinations or with other airlines, because 10 hours with the mask on board a plane, when it is no longer necessary or essential for health reasons, it just doesn’t make any sense”.

As things stand, the general rule is that cabin crew from all airlines have to tell passengers on planes bound to Spain that they have to wear masks. 

If on the other hand the aircraft is flying out of Spain, the mask rules of the country which the plane is flying to apply, which in almost all cases means face coverings aren’t required.

READ ALSO: Masks still compulsory on planes in Spain despite confusion

Spain’s Confederation of Bus Transport (Confebús), German company FlixBus and Madrid Municipal’s Transport Company (EMT) have also voiced their opposition to the lingering mask rule.

So, will Iberia’s views make a difference to the Spanish government’s stance regarding masks?

According to a report published in late October, the Spanish government’s health experts have agreed not to review face mask usage on public transport until March 2023.

The article, which cites internal sources from Spain’s government, adds that the country’s Public Health Commission (a body which advises Spain’s Health Ministry on which measures to introduce) has reportedly agreed to shelve any possible changes until March, and as things stand keep the rule in place “for an indefinite time” as “it is not the right time to remove masks due to the arrival of winter”.

Spain’s Health Ministry, however, argues that no fixed date for reviewing face mask legislation has been set.

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