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When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Masks are no longer be required on public transport in Spain from Wednesday February 8th, but when and where will they still be obligatory?

When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?
When and where will masks still be required in Spain. Photo: Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias confirmed end the end of January that face masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, a measure that has been in place in Spain for almost three years.  

On Tuesday February 7th, the Spanish government finally approved the measure and it was published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE) on Wednesday February 8th, meaning that masks will no longer be required on public transport.

The measure is possible because Spain’s Covid-19 “epidemiological situation
is enormously stable at the moment,” Darias told a news conference after a weekly
cabinet meeting.

Spain has ceased to be the only country in Europe that still requires the use of face masks on public transport. 

The measure comes months after other European countries took the same decision, which has been delayed due to the threat of the Covid-19 situation in China and fear of new variants such as ‘kraken’ from the US.

Where else masks will masks not be mandatory any more?

Darias elaborated further, confirming that as well as on public transport, masks will not be required in health establishments such as opticians, auditory and orthopaedic centres, where they had been up until now.  

Will they still be required anywhere?

Yes, the government has stated that face masks will still be mandatory in all other health centres, pharmacies and hospitals, as well as in care homes.

You will also need to continue wearing them in dentist offices, physiotherapy centres, blood banks, family planning or fertility clinics and psychology or psychiatric offices. 

READ ALSO: Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

What about on aeroplanes?

Aeroplanes will be counted as public transport and therefore, you will no longer need to wear a mask when flying to or from Spain. 

This will bring Spain in line with many other European countries who dropped the mask rule on planes months ago, which airlines have been asking for, for a while. 

The corporate director of Iberia Juan Cierco has been very critical of the mandatory masks on flights rule. 

The use of masks outdoors ceased to be mandatory almost a year ago, on February 10th, 2022.

Then, two months later on April 20th, the government announced they wouldn’t be required indoors either, except in health centres and on public transport. 

The latest figures for Covid-19 in Spain, published on Friday February 3rd, showed that the number of people hospitalised has fallen by 12.1 percent over the last week and by 15.2 percent in the ICU.

The current average incidence of infections in Spain over the last 14 days stood at 50.76 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Covid-19 controls at airports in Spain

Last week, Darias also announced the results of the controls carried out by the Foreign Health Department on travellers coming on direct flights from China.

Controls have been carried out on a total of 1,765 travellers and three people have tested positive for Covid-19, she confirmed.

The three positives were confirmed by PCR and the virus was sequenced, showing that it was the same strain that is currently already dominant in Spain. 

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Covid-19: Spain to scrap face mask rule for hospitals and pharmacies

The Spanish Health Ministry has announced that masks will no longer be required in certain healthcare settings, including hospitals and pharmacies, with a couple of exceptions.

Covid-19: Spain to scrap face mask rule for hospitals and pharmacies

The Ministry of Health, along with representatives of each autonomous community in Spain, decided at the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS) on Friday June 23rd that it would no longer be mandatory to wear masks in hospitals, pharmacies and other clinical settings.

Spain dropped the mask rule on public transport in February 2023, but since the very early days of the pandemic in 2020, they have been required in health centres, hospitals and clinics.

Where will masks no longer be mandatory?

You will no longer need to wear a mask when you visit these places:

  • Pharmacies
  • Physiotherapy clinics
  • Dental clinics
  • Health centres
  • Nursing/Care homes
  • Hospitals

Are there any places where masks are still required?

Yes. Spanish Health Minister José Miñones has confirmed that the use of masks will still be required in areas with vulnerable patients and some places where they were mandatory before the pandemic too. These include:  

  • Operating rooms
  • Intensive care units
  • Areas where there are immunocompromised patients
  • Cancer wards
  • Emergency rooms

When will it enter into force?

This measure was expected to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet on Tuesday, June 27th and enter into force the next day on Wednesday, after its publication in the Official State Bulletin (BOE). But on Monday Spain’s Health Minister said the date would have to be pushed back as the matter wouldn’t be addressed in the Spanish cabinet on Tuesday, adding that mask removal in hospitals and health centres will happen “as soon as possible”.

Masks first became mandatory in all indoor and outdoor spaces in Spain in May 2020 as the country emerged from a two-month national lockdown in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The outdoor mask rule was scrapped in February 2022 and in April 2022 it was the turn of the indoor mask rule, with the only exceptions being health centres, care homes and pharmacies.