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Spain to remove face mask mandate outdoors next Thursday

Health minister says measure will be decided onTuesday in cabinet meeting

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04 February 2022 08:47 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Spain will remove the face mask mandate outdoors next week, as announced by the Spanish health minister, Carolina Darias, on Friday morning in a Cadena SER radio interview.

She said the measure will be agreed in a health coordination meeting between the Spanish executive and regional governments next Monday, and officially decided the day after in a cabinet meeting.

The BOE official gazette is expected to publish the change on Wednesday, and probably on Thursday, February 10 the face mask obligation outdoors will no longer be in effect.

According to Darias, the measure has helped fight the Covid sixth wave and it is now no longer needed because indicators have improved. 

'Blackmailing' MPs to approve face mask mandate

The decision was announced only three days after Spain's congress ratified the mandate on Tuesday, with some parliamentary manoeuvring used by the government in Madrid.

Although Pedro Sánchez's cabinet did not have the support of the majority of lawmakers in the chamber, they managed to get the go-ahead of MPs because the face mask mandate was included in the same vote as the increase in pensions for retired people – despite some parties accusing the government of "blackmailing" them, they ended up backing the double measure.

Since last December 24, face masks are mandatory in public places indoors, but also outdoors – also when safety distancing is possible. 

Catalonia: face mask mandate outdoors 'makes little sense'

Earlier this week, Catalan authorities backed lifting the restriction as "it makes little sense," health minister Josep Maria Argimon said on Wednesday.

While visiting Figueres hospital, in northeastern Catalonia, he defended returning to the previous regulation, which imposed face masks indoors, and outdoors only when maintaining safe distances is not possible.

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  • People wearing a face mask in Reus on August 18, 2020 (by Roger Segura)

  • People wearing a face mask in Reus on August 18, 2020 (by Roger Segura)

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