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Masks compulsory in enclosed spaces as well as on public transport
20 May 2020 @ 13:38

SPAIN'S government has amended its rules on wearing masks in public – initially only mandatory on public transport or in private cars when travelling with persons not from the same household – and has now announced they will be required anywhere that physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.

From tomorrow (Wednesday), surgical or hygiene masks – the latter being of a lower protection level and of the type typically used by people with a cold when around babies or the elderly – must be worn inside buildings open to the public and also on the street, except where it is easy to maintain a distance of at least two metres (6'6”) between oneself and others.

Health minister Salvador Illa points out: “There's a big difference between going for a walk in the countryside, and going for a walk in a crowded city.”

In the former, a person is unlikely to run into others and, if they do, should have no problems in avoiding getting close to them, but in a busy supermarket, for example, or whilst walking along a city-centre pavement, social distancing may not always be easy.

Head of Spain's Health Emergencies and Alerts Coordination Centre, Fernando Simón, has urged the public to be 'responsible' since 'it is not always easy to ascertain the distance' between oneself and the next person.

“In the event of any uncertainty, the logical thing to do is to put your mask on,” Simón stresses.

“The main thing to take into account is that it's crucial to use these when there's a risk of exposing yourself or others to possible infection.”

Illa's department has been criticised for making masks compulsory two months after the State of Alarm was announced and at a time when most of Spain is now in 'Phase 1' of recovery – with small shops open subject to limited numbers, and pavement cafés operating at 50% - but he stresses that doing so now is as a 'precaution', since before, with everyone required to stay at home except for essential errands, there was less likelihood of coming into contact with others.



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