It's official. After almost two years, specifically after 700 days, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved a decree on Tuesday establishing the end of the mandatory use of face masks indoors.
The government's decision will enter into force on Wednesday 20 April, after its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE, in its Spanish acronym).
The mandate to were masks indoors came into force on 20 May 2020 by government order, as a measure to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, there were not even vaccines to deal with the coronavirus. Today, Spain has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
“Today is a very special day for the Government and for all Spaniards in the fight against the coronavirus. We are going to get back to normal,” said the government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez at the press conference after the Council of Ministers. The Spaniards, she said, can now "show our faces and our smiles again."
The Government of Madrid believes that the current situation is the result of the "great vaccination campaign" carried out in 2021 and 2022 and also of the effort made by the whole of society.
From Wednesday, Spaniards will be able to do without the face mask in indoor public spaces, including schools. In Catalonia, the autonomous government authorities decided to advance the measure one day for primary and secondary schools.
However, the government decree lists some exceptions to the general permission to drop the mask. The use of face shields will continue to be mandatory on public transport, in hospitals, health centers and pharmacies. Also for those who work in centers for the elderly or visit them, as explained by the Minister of Health Carolina Darias.
The mask will also cease to be mandatory at mass events such as sports events, in soccer stadiums or basketball courts.
Masks are also not mandatory in workplaces, although the decree allows each company to decide whether to keep it or eliminate it.
Now that full normality is closer, the Spanish government calls for responsible behavior from all citizens and recommends protecting the most vulnerable.