Obligatory use in Spain of masks outdoors will end on June 26, says Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

The Socialist Party politician said today that the Cabinet would be holding an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the proposal

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Barcelona on Friday.
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Barcelona on Friday.PAU BARRENA (AFP)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez stated today that masks would no longer have to be worn outdoors in the country from Saturday June 26 onward. The much-awaited announcement came at a time when the vaccination campaign has moved on to the over-40 age group in much of the country, and with the incidence of the virus at its lowest level since last August.

Speaking at a business conference in Barcelona, the Socialist Party (PSOE) chief explained that the government would hold an extraordinary Cabinet meeting to discuss the proposal.

“I would like to start my speech by making a very important announcement for the 47 million compatriots in our country,” Sánchez said. “I would like to say to you that we are going to hold an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on Thursday at which we are going to propose that masks no longer be obligatory in open spaces from Saturday, June 26.”

Masked Madrileños exercising in the Spanish capital's Retiro Park.
Masked Madrileños exercising in the Spanish capital's Retiro Park.David Expósito

The move comes at a time when other European countries such as France and Germany are also relaxing the rules on the use of face masks. What’s more, the vacation season will be getting into full swing in Spain at the start of July. Tourists visiting the country and residents alike will now not have to wear the coverings while outdoors and enjoying their holidays.

Masks will still be required, however, when a safe distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained with people outside your closest social bubble, according to technical documents that the country’s regions have agreed with the Health Ministry.

Spain currently has very strict mask rules in place, including their required use outdoors by everyone aged six and over even when social distancing can be observed. But many health experts have been calling for an end to mask-wearing outdoors for some time now, given that there is no evidence that their use, when there are no crowds, is effective.

In fact, a law has been passed by parliament making masks mandatory in public while the pandemic lasts. In order for their compulsory use to be eliminated, the government will have to approve a royal decree in the Congress of Deputies.

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English version by Simon Hunter.

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