Spain scraps mask-wearing rules but keeps them for public transport

A woman with a face mask in a supermarket.

People will no longer have to wear masks in venues such as shops, gyms, theatres (Picture: Getty)

Spain is one of the last European countries to drop its requirement for people to wear face masks indoors.

Like many other countries, Spain mandated face masks as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic on May 20, in 2020.

The world lived through two years of changing restrictions but policies started coming to an end at the beginning of this year – as immunity grew with vaccinations and health systems became more prepared for any upcoming Covid waves.

The UK was one of the first countries to scrap mask-wearing rules but the rest of Europe quickly followed suit.

Now, Spain has announced that citizens there will not have to wear face masks indoors on Friday.

This means people will be able to go in and out of shops, restaurants, bars, gyms, theatres, cinemas and concerts venues without a mask.

But people will still have to cover their faces on public transport, planes and health service venues of all kinds including pharmacies.

People in Spain will still have to wear face masks while using public transport (Picture: AP)

A medical staff member prepares a Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Pamplona, northern Spain.

The health minister said Spain had made the decision because of its high vaccination rate (Picture: AP)

Spain’s minister of health Carolina Darias said this new relaxation of coronavirus rules was possible because of the country’s ‘very high vaccination coverage’.

Indeed, Spain has a vaccination rate of 85.71%.

But Spaniards were told they should still choose to make ‘responsible use’ of face masks, particularly those at the highest risk of coronaivrus – people over the age of 60, pregnant woman and immunosuppressed patients.

Italy and Portugal still require face masks in the majority of indoor spaces.

It comes as US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle rules President Joe Biden’s public transport and plane mask-wearing mandates unlawful.

She on Monday said that it exceeds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statutory authority.

Mizelle, who was nominated by Trump in 2020, zeroed in on the definition of ‘sanitation’ in the law. The government argued for a broader definition of the term to include preventing disease, but Mizelle follows a narrower definition ‘limited to cleaning measures’.

‘Wearing a mask cleans nothing,’ she wrote.  

It is not clear how quickly Mizelle’s ruling will be implemented at airports and public transportation stations across the nation.

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