There are no plans to further relax face mask rules in Spain – for now, at least
“We are following expert advice,” the health minister said on Tuesday, meaning masks are still mandatory in medical facilities, nursing homes and on public transport.
The end of the obligation to wear a face mask in public transport, in pharmacies, hospitals, medical centers and retirement homes in Spain is not yet in sight, and will not be for at least several weeks. Health authorities do not plan to relax the measure, in force since April, when masks were no longer made compulsory inside buildings but deemed necessary in circumstances where the most vulnerable must be protected.
Health Minister Carolina Darias was asked about the matter at a press conference following the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. She said her department would still follow expert advice and that at this time the idea of scrapping the mask rule altogether was not being considered. She said that although some European countries have lifted the rule, Spain believes it is better to be cautious and see what the incidence of Covid looks like in the fall.
José Martínez Olmos, a public health expert, agrees. “The virus is still circulating and people are still dying from it (340 last week),” he said. He also said there is an added benefit to wearing a mask in the fall and winter when flu season begins.
Darias said we are now in the final phase of the pandemic and the successful vaccination campaign in Spain is one of the main reasons why “we got to where we are today”.
She also confirmed that in the fall, when the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that have been adapted for the new Omicron variants arrive, a new Covid vaccination campaign will begin. The first to receive the vaccine will be the over-80s and residents of nursing homes.