The use of face masks in outdoor spaces will be mandatory again in Spain from Christmas Eve. This is the latest measure imposed by the central government to combat the spread of the coronavirus, especially the new Omicron variant, which has been revealed to be more contagious.
According to the new Real Decree approved on Thursday by the Council of Ministers, for Spaniards the use of face masks will be mandatory in public spaces or in spaces open to the public for all people over six years of age since they leave home.
This measure has been highly criticized by some experts and health workers, who question its effectiveness. They believe that it is a more cosmetic than effective restriction.
However, the Spanish authorities have established several "exceptions" after receiving criticism of thousands of citizens in social media, health experts and even some regional governments and politicians. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the return of the mask outdoors in his meeting with regional presidents on Wednesday.
For example, it will be allowed to remove the mask to practice sports individually (go for a run) and also in natural spaces (for example on the beach, in the mountains or on excursions to the countryside) as long as a minimum social distance of 1.5 meters is maintained with people who do not live under the same roof.
The use of masks will also not be mandatory for ship passengers in their cabins or in closed spaces for public use that are the place of residence of a group, such as centers for the elderly, if they have a percentage of people with a complete guideline of more than 80 % and booster dose.
A temporary measure
The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias stressed that in all other cases, people will always have to wear masks to go out, even if they are in a rural town in Spain.
Darias has stressed that this is a temporary measure, which will be in force for the essential time until the current epidemiological situation improves.
The use of the mask will continue to be mandatory, in closed spaces for public use, in public transport of any kind, as well as in complementary private spaces with up to 9 seats, if the occupants do not live at the same address.