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Masks still mandatory on planes travelling to and from Spain, health ministry confirms
Friday, May 13, 2022 @ 5:39 PM

MASKS will still be compulsory on aeroplanes and all other public transport in Spain, even though the European Union has recommended they cease to be obligatory in flight.

Travellers to and from Spain should be aware that, even if in their country of departure or destination, they are not required to wear masks on board, they will still need to do so in order to comply with Spanish laws.

A young woman on a family trip ‘home’ to Madrid wears a mask at the terminal and shows a PCR-negative test result

Health minister Carolina Darías says the national government has ruled out dropping the mandatory mask on all public transport, including air travel, even though the European Air Security Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) considers they can now become optional.

It is not necessary to wear these in airport terminals, at bus stops or on train platforms, although Spain's government still strongly recommends doing so, especially where these are indoors.

The legal requirement for wearing a mask in indoor areas was dropped after Easter, although they are still mandatory in healthcare or medical centres – GP surgeries, hospitals, care homes and similar – as well as pharmacies, dental practices when not in the course of treatment, and opticians' premises.

Air travel is, from a virus point of view, the safest form of public transport, as the Spanish Airlines Association (ALA) confirmed back in 2020 – the HEPA air filters on board work vertically, so movement of air in the cabin is top-down or bottom-up rather than circulating or horizontal, meaning what one person breathes out is not immediately blown onto the person beside them.

HEPA filters on planes are the same type as used in operating theatres to prevent the spread of infection, and the air supply in the cabin comes from outside the craft – at an altitude where no living organism, even bacteria, can survive due to the low temperature.

Whilst travellers often claim they have caught a cold, 'flu or chest infection 'on the plane', this is very unlikely, and it is far more probable they either caught it in destination or at the airport terminal itself during crowded moments, such as security queues.

For these reasons, Spain continues to recommend masks worn in airports, but has not made this a legal requirement.

Despite the EU's having relaxed the rules, with Spain welcoming an average of over 80 million tourists from abroad annually in a 'normal', non-pandemic year – almost double the country's resident population – and with the May to early September stretch being the busiest holidaymaker months in Spain, the health ministry is wary of causing another spike in contagion; whilst other EU member States are also likely to see a huge recovery in their tourism industries this year, Spain tends to see more visitors over summer than almost anywhere else on the continent.



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