Can you go to Mercadona without a facemask today?

by Lorraine Williamson
without a facemask from today

MADRID – On Tuesday, the Council of Ministers approved the royal decree that makes it no longer mandatory to wear facemasks in indoor areas. The measure will come into effect as of today, Wednesday 20 April. But can you really still go out without a facemask?

So can you go to the Mercadona without a facemask from now on? Or to an indoor shopping centre? Or to the bar around the corner for a cup of coffee at the bar? Since the publication of the new measure in the Government Gazette BOE, the facemask is no longer mandatory in indoor spaces in Spain. That is, in almost all interior spaces. There are a few exceptions where you must still wear a facemask.

This will take some getting used to for many people. Because for two consecutive years, you could never leave home without your mask. And you have had to put it on when you went inside. In short, it is no longer necessary to put on your mask when you want to enter a bar, restaurant, or supermarkets such as Mercadona, or shopping centre. It is also no longer necessary to put on a face mask when entering a school or university, sports canteen, or event space. 

Although the specific areas where the use of a face mask remains mandatory, these have not yet been specified in the published decree. However, the following exceptions are known: 

Where is wearing a face mask mandatory? 

You must always have a facemask with you in Spain on all types of public transport such as buses, trains, planes, metros, boats, taxis, and VTC. You also must wear it in health centres and similar institutions such as hospitals (except for admitted patients if they are without visitors), pharmacies, blood transfusion sites, and the like. Also in social care centres such as nursing homes, correctional institutions, centres for minors, and centres for people with disabilities. Here, wearing a face mask is only mandatory for visitors and employees, not for residents. 

Face mask at work? 

As far as labour centres and offices are concerned, the decision to use the mask falls into the hands of each company’s occupational risk prevention services. Some companies are going along with the ‘caution’ requested by the government. Therefore, they have determined that employees in positions who come into contact with the public must continue to wear face masks. Major companies telling their staff to continue using masks include El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, and Mango. Companies such as those of the Tendam group (Women’secret, Springfield, Cortefiel, Pedro del Hierro), recommend the use of face masks for their employees but do not require it. However, some companies, such as Inditex or large food stores and supermarket chains, have not yet indicated what their position will be. 

So, yes, from today you can leave your face mask at home when you go shopping in Spain. Unless, of course, you travel there by public transport.

Castilla-La Mancha continues to recommend the use of masks 

The regional health minister in Castilla-La Mancha, Juan Camacho, points out that the mask is still mandatory in health centres, services, and institutions, such as hospitals; health centres; transfusion centres; or pharmacies, both for the people who work there and for the visitors. 

No face masks in airport buildings 

The Spanish airport authority Aena points out that wearing a mask is no longer mandatory at airports. However, it remains mandatory in transport, such as the plane, shuttle buses, and other transport options. 

Junta de Andalucia decides on schools today 

The Andalucian government will study the BOE on Wednesday to determine as soon as possible whether the use of masks in schools in the region can be ended. The Minister of Education and Sports, Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, explained: “The experience during the pandemic has taught us that one thing is what is transferred and another thing is what is officially published”. This concerns 2.5 million pupils and students and 230,000 teachers who will be affected by the final decision. 

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