Look ma, no masks!
In February this year, the wearing of face mask outdoors in Spain has ceased to be obligatory. Later, on the 20th of April 2022, face mask indoors met the same fate.
The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, says that the nixing of the masks is “a strategic response to the current epidemiological situation” which enjoyed a near-unanimous backing of the members of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System during its meeting on 6 April in Toledo, a city outside Madrid.
Ms. Darias has pointed out that the high rates of vaccination against COVID-19 and the epidemiological situation in Spain have made it possible to free the people from the necessary bondage of the masks. Presently, 92% of the vaccinable population – 39 million people – have been fully inoculated. Hence the decline in the spread of the disease and the fact that most of the Spanish territory now enjoy a low risk level.
Masks will remain mandatory inside health care centers such as hospitals, transfusion centers, and pharmacies. Masks are also obligatory on public transport (planes, trains, buses, ships, taxis. . .).
Employees of the health care centers and nursing homes, and visitors thereof, are obliged to wear masks but not residents.
The Health Minister says that the Spanish government recommends the responsible use of masks among the vulnerable segments of the population: those over 60 years of old, the immunocompromised people, and those at risk of diseases or pregnant women.
Vulnerable teachers and students are advised to continue wearing masks.
The use of masks is recommended at large events (sporting events, concerts. . .), in crowds, and at family or private celebrations when attended by a vulnerable person.
In the workplace, those responsible for the prevention of occupational hazards may resort to preventive measures such as the use of masks when it is deemed that such use is called for.
It seems that there are as many people in Spain who welcome the end of face masks as those who intend to go on wearing them even now that they are no longer obliged. Those who have been opposed to the masks from the very beginning are relieved or feel vindicated. Those who won’t let go of the protective face covering do so because they are afraid of catching the lurking virus, because it is the wise thing to do, and/or because wearing the masks doesn’t bother them. Still others won’t let go because the good old mask conveniently conceals some real or imagined facial defects from view.
Note: Watch out for measures that may be adopted at the regional level in response to new developments.
Featured image (Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid)/Richard Whitaker, CC BY2.0
Darias/Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo, Ministry of the Presidency, Govt. of Spain, PD. Cropped.
Mask in subway/Elvert Barnes, CC BY-SA2.0
Apple wearing mask/JVaile, Pixabay
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