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Spain plans to modify its controversial swimming and sunbathing face mask law

Two women wearing masks walk along a beach. File photograph.
Two women wearing masks walk along a beach. File photograph. / SUR
  • A draft document that Health Minister Carolina Darias will present to the regions this Wednesday states that it will not be compulsory to use a mask when at 'rest' and as long as there are 1.5 metres of distance maintained from people who don’t live with you

Spain's Ministry of Health plans to amend the controversial law that made the wearing of face masks mandatory “at all times and in all public places” - that included beaches and swimming pools - even if a safe distance from other people could be maintained.

At this Wednesday’s (7 April) Interterritorial Council meeting of the Ministry of Health and the regions, the department - headed by Carolina Darias - will present a new draft of the law that allows not wearing a face mask at "moments of rest" (the expression "sunbathing" is not used, but it is implied) and as long as the a safe distance of 1.5 metres can be kept from people who do not live with you.

The draft, which will in all probability now have the approval of the regions, nevertheless maintains the obligation to wear nose and mouth protection if people are on the move. In other words – the Ministry of Health explains - the mask will continue to be mandatory during walks along the beach.

Sports practice will continue to be exempt and people who carry out activities that are considered "incompatible" with the use of face masks, such as lifeguards, are excluded from wearing the mask. Also, obviously, the mask can be briefly removed when eating or drinking.