Many shop staff and customers in Malaga are still wearing a mask today. / francis silva

The indoor masks have come off in Spain... or, actually, have they?

Most people still seem to be wearing them in shops in Malaga and on the Costa del Sol even though it is no longer compulsory to do so

JUAN SOTO Malaga

Marina Díaz had already decided that she was not going to change her routine of the past two years today, Wednesday 20 April, even though it is generally no longer necessary to wear a mask inside buildings in Spain. She works in a supermarket and started at 7am as usual, with her mask fitted snugly over her nose and mouth. “Nearly all the staff are still wearing them, to protect themselves and the customers,” she told SUR.

It seems she is not unusual. Far from flinging their masks away in glee now that the rule has been lifted, people in Malaga appear reluctant to do away with them, especially inside buildings.

After checking out different places in Malaga city and on the Costa del Sol, SUR has seen that many people are opting for caution. In fact, a lot of those we spoke to seemed a bit confused about when they have to wear a mask and when they don't need to, and decided it was better to carry on as they did before.

Most shop staff we saw were wearing a mask, and so were hairdressers. “I think it gives a better impression to the customers,” said Raúl, who works in a greengrocers in Calle Jaboneros in Malaga.

Department stores

The scene in department stores was similar. Nearly all the staff and customers in El Corte Inglés in Avenida de Andalucía were wearing a mask, although it has to be said that some had only covered their mouth and not their nose.

In the menswear section we found Miguel Carrasco, who is from Huelin and had come to buy a shirt. He wasn’t wearing a mask, but said it felt strange. “I took mine off because I’m tired of wearing them, but seeing so many people with one on makes me feel a bit guilty,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to get told off at any moment”.

Wait a few weeks

Nearby was Laura Vázquez, wearing a mask. “I think it’s best, especially after Easter week when there were so many people around,” she said. She told us she would like to take hers off but she intends to wait for a couple of weeks to see how the level of infections goes. “I know we need to get back to normal and live with the virus, but after all we have been through, I feel a bit scared,” she said.

Businesses

Some companies have decided to exercise their right to insist that their staff continue to wear masks at work, at least for a couple of weeks while they analyse the effect of the measure among society. These include Maskom, Mango, Cortefiel and some departments in El Corte Inglés. The head of the Maskom chain, Sergio Cuberos, says it is the right thing to do. “We are insisting that our employees still wear masks if they are dealing with the public,” he says.