MADRID – As of October, it seems that the obligation to wear a face mask on public transport in Spain will be abolished. However, wearing a protective face mask is still mandatory in health centres and nursing homes.
A final decision on the compulsory wearing of face masks in pharmacies has yet to be taken. This week, the interterritorial council of Spain’s national health system will make the decision. The progress of the vaccination and the favourable course of the pandemic make it possible to abolish the measure.
It is expected that the face mask will disappear completely from public transport in October. Health will take it to the last Council of Ministers in September and it will only remain mandatory in health centres and residences. A final decision on pharmacies is pending. However, hopes that the pandemic will come under complete control are becoming more and more real. Due to the progress of the vaccination, it may be possible to stop wearing face masks on public transport in the coming weeks. At least for October. In any case, this is the prediction that the Ministry of Health has begun to pass on to the autonomous regions.
Caution and experts
The newspaper La Vanguardia announced on Tuesday that the decision could be taken this week at the meeting of the Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System. This includes the councillors of the autonomous communities.
A few days ago, Minister Darias of Health, did not rule out the possibility that masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport shortly. Although, as usual, she referred to “caution” and the decision based on “what the experts suggest”.
According to Confidencial Digital citing sources at the ministry, Fernando Simón, the director of the Centre for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES), has already handed over his proposal to the coronavirus monitoring commission which still meets weekly in Moncloa with President Pedro Sánchez.
Public Transport versus mass gatherings
Simón explained that, in the case of public transport, it doesn’t seem very logical to continue using face masks. There are many other spaces where the population has unlimited exposure, such as concerts, bars and festivals (ferias).
So far, the ministry has reasoned that those mass gatherings are usually occasions that people visit voluntarily. The opposite is true for public transport. Many have no option, and must take public transport to go to work. Therefore, until now, the face mask obligation in public transport has been justified. Last Tuesday, health checks in Spanish ports and airports for international travellers were also abolished.