The use of face masks will be compulsory throughout Catalonia from this Thursday 9 July, the Catalan president Quim Torra announced on Wednesday.
The measure will apply to adults and children over the age of six in both outdoor and indoor public spaces.
Until now, face masks have only been compulsory when it was not possible for people to stay 1.5 metres apart.
Following the approval of the move by Catalonia’s Civil Protection (Procicat) authorities, Catalan government spokeswoman Meritxell Budó confirmed that exemptions will apply when the ‘nature of the activity makes it incompatible’ – such as when doing sports or exercise.
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Alba Vergés, responsible for the Catalan health department, said that the general rule is for everyone to ‘leave home with the mask on’, adding that ‘we must all keep in mind that we are potential carriers’ [of the virus].
Those failing to comply with the measure could be fined 100 euros.
Vergés did not specify if masks would have to be worn while at the beach, stating that Civil Protection will publish a list of answers to FAQs. [We will publish further details here when we have them].
Earlier in the week Budó had advised that the measure will be applied in ‘both public and private’ spaces, even when the safety distance of 1.5 metres can be guaranteed. ‘Regardless of safety distances, people will have to wear a mask at all times,’ she said.
Face masks and social distancing – the rules across Spain up to now
The wearing of face masks remains compulsory in Spain if social distancing cannot be maintained, and until a Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine is found – with police having the power to fine citizens for not wearing them.
It forms part of the measures within the approved royal decree that establish the guidelines that govern the New Normality. Wearing face masks is obligatory if a social distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained, with fines of up to €100 if it is not observed.
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said that wearing face masks must ‘remain in place until we permanently defeat the virus, which is when we have an effective treatment or vaccine against it’.
Wearing face masks in Spain has been compulsory since 21 May for everyone aged over six in closed spaces (including shops and stores), as well as on the street and in public places, where social distancing cannot be maintained. It had initially been made compulsory to wear face masks on all public transport in Spain since Monday 4 May.
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