Spain approves law that ends indoor mask rule on April 20th

The Spanish Cabinet on Tuesday passed the highly anticipated decree which will allow people in Spain to no longer have to wear face masks in most indoor settings from Wednesday April 20th.

Spain approves law that ends indoor mask rule on April 20th
After two long years, Spaniards will no longer need to wear masks in indoor public settings, a Spanish royal decree has confirmed. (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN / AFP)

For the first time in 700 days, people in Spain will be able to decide whether or not to wear a mask inside a bar, restaurant, shop or cinema on Wednesday. 

The changes to the country’s mask rules, which were first announced on April 6th after weeks of speculation, were fully approved and confirmed by Spain’s Council of Ministers on Tuesday April 19th.

As with other royal decrees, the new law comes into force the following day upon publication in Spain’s state bulletin (BOE), which on this occasion will be published on Wednesday April 20th. 

The rule change marks one of the most symbolic moments of the pandemic in Spain, with all other Covid-19 rules (quarantines, curfews, health passes etc) long gone.  

“Face masks are no longer mandatory, except for certain exceptions,” Darias said at the press conference on Tuesday following the Spanish Cabinet meeting which approved the law. 

These exceptions are the same as those anticipated earlier by Spanish health authorities. Face coverings will still be mandatory in: 

  • 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: Where will you still need to wear a mask indoors in Spain?

However, it will no longer be necessary to wear a mask inside bars, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums, concerts, 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.

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”, recommending that they still wear masks in poorly-ventilated or crowded indoor spaces. 

But except for a handful of places where masks continue to be mandatory, from Wednesday April 20th 2022 it will be up to ordinary citizens to decide when and where to wear a mask indoors. 

“We’re recovering some normality and are able to show our faces and smiles again,” Darias said, whilst stressing that masks “should continue to be among us as an element of protection, especially for vulnerable people”. 

There has been a slight increase in Spain’s fortnightly infection rate following the Easter holidays – currently standing at 466 cases per 100,000 people – although Spain’s Health Ministry no longer does an exhaustive recount of daily infections as it did previously.

READ ALSO: Is Spain ready to get rid of masks indoors?

“We’re not dropping our guard,” Spain’s Health Minister assured.

The removal of the indoor face mask rule is likely to provide clearer insight to where Spain stands in terms of a possible seventh coronavirus wave, or if the country can start a positive new chapter after two difficult years.

Have your say in our poll below: Will you still wear a mask indoors in Spain?


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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.


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?