Tan-tastic news! Spain will scrap rules on wearing masks outdoors from June 26 (so at least you won’t have dodgy tan lines if you can get out there!)
- Spain will drop rules requiring masks to be worn in public from next week
- Vote will take place Thursday before new rule comes into force Saturday
- Masks had only become mandatory in public on April 1 – previously they were required only where social distancing was not possible
- Rule-change comes as Spain tries to attract tourists for the summer holidays
Spain has announced it will scrap laws requiring people to wear facemasks in public places from June 26 as Covid cases fall across the country.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said lawmakers will vote on the new rules next Thursday, and that he expects them to be in force from Saturday.
‘This weekend will be the last one with masks in outdoor spaces because the next weekend we will no longer wear them,’ Sanchez told an event in Barcelona.
It will come as a relief to those lucky enough to make it out to Spain for their holidays, especially sunbathers who might have found themselves returning with some very odd tan lines otherwise.
Spain will drop rules which made facemasks mandatory in all public places from next week, the prime minister has said
Currently, Spain is welcoming all fully-vaccinated tourists including Britons without the need for a negative Covid test or quarantine.
Arrivals must have received their final dose of an EU-approved vaccine at least two weeks before departure, with all vaccines currently in use in the UK qualifying.
Non-vaccinated arrivals are being accepted, provided they show a negative PCR or antigen test taken 48 hours before departure.
Those who have evidence of a previous Covid infection are also being accepted, provided they were diagnosed at least 11 days prior to departure.
All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, also have to fill out a passenger information form before departure and present a digital QR code to be scanned before boarding the aircraft and on arrival.
But despite its falling infection rate, Spain remains on the UK’s amber travel list meaning all Britons will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival back home.
Travellers must also take two PCR tests purchased at a cost of £210 before departure, to be taken on or before day two of quarantine, and on day eight.
Breaking self-isolation could lead to a £10,000 fine, while those who do not take the day 2 and day 8 tests could be fined £2,000 and those who provide incorrect information on their passenger locator forms could be handed a £10,000 penalty or a 10-year jail sentence – or both.
Spain is trying to tempt back tourists including Britons by relaxing its Covid measures, but the country remains on the UK’s travel ‘amber’ list
Masks have been required in public in some form or another in Spain since June last year, with the original rules stating they were needed only in places where 5ft social distancing was not possible.
That guidance was then updated on April 1 this year to state that masks were mandatory in all public spaces, whether or not social distancing was also in place.
At the time of that rule change, it the government was criticised for being heavy-handed and failing to take into account the latest information on how the virus spreads, and Spain’s vaccination rate.
The latest rule change means masks will be unnecessary even in spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
Almost half Spain’s population has so-far been vaccinated, including 90 per cent of those aged over 50 who are most at risk of serious infection.
The nationwide infection rate as measured over the preceding 14 days fell to 96.6 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday, down from over 150 cases a month ago.
Pressure on the health system has also eased significantly since the start of the year.
Spain’s 17 regions are largely responsible for managing healthcare, but major policy shifts must be proposed by the central government, in a system that frequently generates tension between administrations.
Last week the government was forced to backtrack on a plan to gradually reopen nightclubs after widespread complaints from regional authorities who dismissed it as either too strict or too loose