In what is good news for both families living in Spain and holidaymakers alike, Spanish officials have U-turned on previous announcements, sharing that wearing face masks will no longer be a legal requirement whilst sunbathing or swimming on Spanish beaches, provided that all social distancing rules are respected.
Spanish beach lovers and businesses will be breathing a huge sigh of relief, as the original decision to enforce mask wearing sparked a huge backlash in Spain’s tourism-dependent regions.
Understanding What’s Changed
The law surrounding facial coverings has been modified slightly following late night talks between government health experts and leaders from 17 Spanish coastal regions. These same regions have also been leading the call for vaccination passports to fast track the return of tourists. Rather than having to wear their face masks at all time, visitors are now able to remove their masks on the beach provided they remain in one place (ie when they are sitting down or sun bathing) and when they are swimming in the sea.
This new rule only applies provided that the social media rules are respected, and that a minimum of 1.5 metre (5 foot) distance is maintained from individuals that they don’t live with. What’s more, when you walk along the beach or arrive at the beach you must put your face covering back on. These new rules are much more workable, and will make for a much more pleasant beach experience for all visitors. And those wonky tan lines that we were all worrying about? Fingers crossed they’re now a thing of the past!
Where Else Can You Be Mask-Free in Spain?
Wearing a face mask is an important part of everyday life in post-covid Spain right now. But during the same meeting it was also clarified that there are certain other activities that can now be undertaken without having to wear a face mask. These include swimming in all locations including, but not limited to the sea, in lakes, in rivers, in reservoirs, and in both indoor and outdoor swimming pools (both public and private).
You can also remove your mask if you are walking alone in the countryside; however, if you are walking with a group (even if they are your family group or people that you live with) then you do need to keep your masks on when you’re enjoying this exercise.
Feeling thirsty? This will become even more of a concern as the weather continues to heat up, so it will no doubt come as a relief to know that you can remove your mask if you need to drink water or for any other “strictly necessary” moment of eating or drinking in public. The definition of “strictly necessary” is ambiguous, but it may well be clarified further in the future.
A Quick Covid Update
Spain has so far lost over 76,000 lives to coronavirus and there have been more than 3.3 million cases of the disease in the country. Wearing face masks are an integral part of the battle against this virus, and we suspect that they will continue to be an integral part of our daily lives in the country for many more months to come.
Mask wearing first became a legal requirement in Spain in early May 2020, where authorities demanded that everyone wear face masks on public transport. Within weeks of this first step, it became compulsory for anyone aged six and above to wear a face mask when they were in the street and almost anywhere outside of their own private residence. Violate the rules? Then you will face a hefty fine.
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