Masks remain compulsory on public transport. / avelino gómez

No plans to further relax face mask rules in Spain – for the time being, at least

“We're following the advice of the experts,” said the Health Minister on Tuesday, which means masks are still compulsory in medical settings, care homes and on public transport

J.A.G. Madrid

The end of the requirement to wear a face mask on public transport, in chemists, hospitals, medical centres and care homes in Spain is not yet in sight, and will not be for at least several weeks. The Health authorities are not planning to relax the measure, which has been in force since April, when masks were no longer made compulsory inside buildings but were deemed necessary in circumstances where the most vulnerable need to be protected.

Health Minister Carolina Darias was asked about this at a press conference following the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. She said her department will always follow the advice of the experts and for the moment the idea of removing the mask rule altogether is not being considered. She said that although some European countries have lifted the rule, Spain believes it is better to be cautious and see what the incidence of Covid is like in the autumn.

José Martínez Olmos, a public health expert, agreed. “The virus is still in circulation and people are still dying from it (340 in the past week),” he pointed out. He also said that there is an additional benefit to wearing a mask in the autumn and winter, when the flu season begins.

Final stage

Darias said we are now in the final stage of the pandemic, and the successful vaccination campaign in Spain is one of the principal reasons “we have got to where we are today”.

She also confirmed that in the autumn, when the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which have been adapted for the new Omicron variants arrive, a new Covid vaccination campaign will begin. The first to receive the vaccine will be the over-80s and residents of care homes.