The Spanish government approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday the decree to finally relax the compulsory use of face masks indoors after almost two years (specifically 700 days). The face mask will no longer be mandatory as of Wednesday 20 April, in most indoor settings [see exceptions below].
As with all royal decrees, the new law will come into force upon publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE), expected to be on Wednesday.
‘Face masks are no longer mandatory, except for certain exceptions,’ Health Minister Carolina Darias said at a press briefing on Tuesday, following the cabinet meeting.
Government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez said at the same press briefing that Spaniards can now ‘show our faces and our smiles again’.
From Wednesday 20 April in Spain, it will no longer be necessary to wear a face mask inside bars, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums, concerts, shops or shopping centres, gyms or schools.
At work and in offices, it will be the employers who decide whether staff should continue wearing face masks, although the health minister said on Tuesday that the ‘general rule’ is that they should no longer be mandatory. The decree allows for a company to decide whether to keep the rule or eliminate it, but it is expected to only be applied if there is poor ventilation or a minimum distance between workers cannot be maintained.
The minister also advised that citizens should exercise ‘common sense’ and ‘caution’, recommending that they still wear face masks in poorly-ventilated or crowded indoor spaces.
The Health Ministry has also recommended that those aged over 60, immunosuppressed people, pregnant women and people in their company should continue with ‘responsible use’ of face masks indoors.
There are also exceptions where face masks are still compulsory:
Exceptions to the new rule
It is compulsory to still wear face masks on all public transport, including on trains, coaches, planes, ferries, cable cars, trams and also taxis (even with one driver and passenger). However, it is not compulsory to wear a face mask whilst waiting in bus or train stations, on platforms or in airports in Spain.
It remains compulsory to still wear face masks in hospitals, health centres, pharmacies, dental clinics, opticians and physiotherapy practices – as well as for those working in or visiting residential nursing and care homes. However, residents admitted to care homes will not be obliged to wear face masks unless they go out of their rooms to common areas such as corridors. The general mandatory use only applies to workers and visitors.
Spain’s new control strategy for Covid-19 establishes that, although isolation is no longer mandatory, those infected or suspected of being infected with mild symptoms must also wear a face mask within 10 days after the onset of symptoms or of testing positive. Click here for all our reports on: Coronavirus in Spain
✔️ Se mantiene la obligatoriedad de las #mascarillas en el transporte aéreo, por ferrocarril o por cable y en los autobuses, así como en los transportes públicos de viajeros.— Ministerio de Sanidad (@sanidadgob) April 19, 2022
✔️ No será obligatorio llevar mascarilla en estaciones o andenes. pic.twitter.com/rzYtTKasNo
Click here for all our reports on: Coronavirus in Spain