Spaniards Can Ditch Face Masks Outdoors With Covid Curbs Easing

Spaniards bracing for the summer heat will no longer have to wear face masks outdoors as the government starts easing pandemic precautions.

The Spanish government today formally suspended the yearlong obligation to use masks outside, and the order will take effect Saturday.

“It’s a decision that gets us closer to normality,” Health Minister Carolina Darias said Thursday in a news conference. “It will free us up in those spaces where contagion is practically non-existent.”

Spain is starting to ease restrictions as its vaccination program picks up pace and infection rates subside. Darias has also announced that soccer and basketball fans will be allowed to go back to stadiums starting from next season. Regional authorities will be entitled to set specific capacity limits. Access to airports for non-travelers will also be more flexible.

“We are recovering the normality because we are are not lowering our guard,” Prime Minster Pedro Sanchez said in Brussels. “I therefore ask not to lower it even if the mandatory use of masks in public spaces will be lifted. We need to be aware that the pandemic continues among us.”

Spain’s decision comes after other European countries announced similar measures. Masks in Italy will no longer be mandatory outdoors in low-risk areas as of June 28, while France lifted mask requirements last week.

Spaniards can ditch the face masks when they’re outside, as long as they maintain a safety distance of 1.5 meters (about 5 feet). They’ll still have to wear masks in indoor spaces outside their homes.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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