SUR

Masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors from Thursday

The Consejo Interterritorial also decided to expand the capacity of sporting events

ÁLVARO SOTO

Today, Monday 7 February, the Ministry of Health and autonomous communities except for the Basque Country which abstained, have decided to end the mandatory use of masks outdoors from Thursday 10 February.

For public events, the safety distance will be five metres. The measures will be approved tomorrow and published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on Wednesday coming into force on Thursday.

The abolition of the mandatory masks outdoors was put forward by the Minister of Health Carolina Darias last Friday, only three days after the Congress of Deputies approved, in a controversial vote, that the decree be extended.

In addition from 1 March, the capacity of outdoor sporting events will be increased from 75 per cent to 85 per cent and from 50 per cent to 75 per cent indoors.

Some experts have highlighted that the mandatory use of masks outdoors is not one of the most effective pandemic measures and it has been a controversial rule since it was resumed at the end of December.

The epidemiologist and paediatrician Quique Bassat said that the decision to force the use of a mask outdoors had been of a “cosmetic” nature. “When the sixth wave broke out, everyone was asking for something to be done,” said Bassat, who believes that it is now “reasonable” to remove this restriction.