Face masks to remain in place all flu season

"We will have to wear them during the autumn and winter," says health minister Argimon

Several people wearing face masks in Verges on April 1, 2021 (by Gerard Vilà)
Several people wearing face masks in Verges on April 1, 2021 (by Gerard Vilà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 14, 2021 10:03 AM

Face masks are set to be one of the last Covid-19 restrictions to remain in place despite the remarkable improvement of the state of the pandemic in Catalonia.

Both the Catalan and Spanish governments agree that face coverings have must remain mandatory at least during all the flu season, which usually peaks between December and February.

On Thursday, Catalan health minister, Josep Maria Argimon, said in an interview with Rac1 radio station that "we will have to wear face masks during the autumn and winter" because "other respiratory viruses" have a strong impact on the population the coldest time of the year.

In the same vein, Spain's health minister, Carolina Darias, avoided setting a date for the removal of the face mask mandate in a press conference on Wednesday.

According to her, it is very likely that such protection continues at least "while the flu or other autumn viruses have an impact."

Face mask use is still required on public transport and taxis, in most indoor places open to the public, in open-air spaces where the 1.5-meter safety distance cannot be guaranteed, and, generally, at work.

Face masks at school

In his interview on Thursday, Argimon did not comment on whether the face mask mandate will be lifted soon for schoolchildren.

This came only two days after the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, urged for them to not be mandatory in classrooms with "children and teachers who are in the same social bubble."

"Enough with this adult-centric management of the pandemic," she said.

Most restrictions to be lifted on Friday

Face masks will remain in place, but on Friday most of the other Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted.

Most notably, there will no longer be capacity restrictions in restaurants, cultural venues, outdoor sports facilities, universities, and fairs in Catalonia.

Restaurants will also recover their pre-pandemic opening times and will not have to maintain distances between tables. There will no longer have to be 10 people seated per table either. 

Capacity limits will remain at 80% for indoor sports events and at 70% in nightclubs, where patrons are required to show their Covid passports in order to enter, as well as at indoor concerts where the audience is not seated - these events will also allow only up to 70% of the usual audience.