Prime Minister Sánchez announced on Wednesday that the successful and largest vaccination campaign ever in Spain makes it possible to say goodbye to mandatory masks on the street ‘soon’. Last week, more 3.5 million shots were given.
According to the prime minister, an important milestone will be reached ‘within days’. Namely, more than 15 million inhabitants of Spain will be fully vaccinated. “We are on track with the vaccinations and that means we are on our way to a full recovery,” Sánchez said.
In recent weeks, the Ministry of Health and the autonomous regions discussed easing the mask requirement. Ministry spokesman Fernando Simón also confirmed mandatory masks on the street will end “soon”. However, he did not mention a date. Before that happens, exceptions to the exemption must first be considered. Examples are when there are large crowds or when it is not possible to keep the appropriate social distance.
Regions want national exemption from mandatory masks
The regions of Catalonia, Madrid, Galicia and Castile-La Mancha are in favour of the immediate lifting of the mask requirement. The Catalan Health Minister this week asked central government to review the face mask regulation.
Until this revision is completed, regions cannot revoke the requirement themselves. The Madrid Minister of Health would like to get rid of mandatory masks on the street at the end of June. He argues for a national exemption under generally applicable conditions. His reasoning is most regions have similar infection rates. The general mood is the vaccination campaign is surpassing expectations and it is safe to walk the streets unprotected.
The Navarra district council is a little more conservative and would prefer to see the masks disappear on the street in July, depending on the course of the vaccination campaign and the infection figures. Murcia would also like the same time-frame and also advocates this happens at a national level. Regional president Ximo Puig wants to take the first step to lift the mask obligation on beaches and in nature reserves.