For almost three years, wearing a facemask on public transport was mandatory in Spain. However, from 8 February, this has changed is no longer mandatory on public transport. On Tuesday, the change was approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers. The amendment to the Royal Decree of 19 April 2022 must now be published in the Official Gazette (BOE).
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias stressed that the situation around Covid-19 is stable. Consequently, Spain will no longer be the only European country to have the facemask obligation when on public transport. This is effective once the BOE publishes the amendment to the 19 April 2022 royal decree. The measure comes months after European countries had taken the same decision, which was delayed due to the looming situation in China and fears of new variants such as the so-called “kraken” from the US.
The latest Covid-19 figures for Spain, published last Friday, show that the number of people admitted to hospital fell by 12.1% in the past week, and 15.2% in the ICU. The current average incidence of infections in Spain over the past 14 days was 50.76 cases per 100,000 population.
The abolition of facemasks in public transport comes almost a year after their use was no longer mandatory outdoors, a measure approved on 10 February, and a few months later (20 April) after they were no longer used indoors. It is also no longer required to be worn in health facilities such as optics practices, audiometric centres and orthopaedic centres, where it was previously mandatory.
Places where the facemask remains mandatory
However, there are places where it is still mandatory to wear a facemask. They remain mandatory in hospitals, health centres, dental clinics, assisted reproduction centres, voluntary abortion centres and other specialised care centres. Also while visiting the pharmacy, a nursing home and communal areas. Nursing home workers still have to wear facemasks too.
What happens on during flights?
The announcement of the loosening of the duty to wear facemasks on public transport also applies to Spanish airlines. This responds to repeated requests from the industry, which has been asking for months to bring the standard in line with the rest of Europe. Iberia’s managing director, Juan Cierco, was highly critical of the continued use of facemasks during flights.