Face masks obligatory in Spain from Thursday: What do you need to know about the new regulation?

Face masks obligatory in Spain from Thursday: What you need to know about the new regulation
Face masks obligatory in Spain from Thursday: What you need to know about the new regulation

Face masks will be obligatory throughout Spain from Thursday according to new regulations published on the BOE website. Over the last few days, central and regional governments have been discussing the possibility of extending the regulation introduced on 4 May which made PPE (personal protective equipment) compulsory on all public transport and they have now reached an agreement which mandates the use of face masks in all public spaces where social distancing cannot be adhered to.

According to the new regulation published by Spain’s Ministry of Health in the Official State Gazette (BOE), it is now obligatory to wear face masks, “preferably hygienic and surgical, covering the nose and mouth” in the “public street, in open-air spaces and any closed space that is for public use or that is open to the public, where it is not possible to maintain distance”.

The rule affects everyone over the age of six and the use of masks is encouraged for younger children.

In summary, the order states the following:

Article 1: Objective

The purpose of this order is to regulate the mandatory use of a mask by the population. For the purposes of the provisions of this order, it will be understood that the obligation referred to in the previous section through the use of any type of mask, preferably hygienic and surgical, covering the nose and mouth. Observe the indications of the sanitary authorities about their use.

Article 2: Those affected

1. Persons six years of age and older are obliged to use masks in the spaces indicated in Article 3.
2. The obligation will not be enforceable in the following cases:
a) People who present some type of respiratory difficulty that can be seen aggravated by the use of a mask.
b) People in whom the use of a mask is contraindicated for reasons of duly justified health, or that due to their disability or dependency present behavioral changes that make their use unfeasible.
c) Development of activities in which, by their very nature, it results, the use of the mask is incompatible.
d) Cause of force majeure or need situation.

Article 3: Spaces where the use of masks is obligatory

The use of a mask will be mandatory on public roads, in outdoor spaces and in any closed space for public use or that is open to the public, always that it is not possible to maintain an interpersonal safety distance of at least two meters.

The official order as published on the BOE website can be downloaded here:

BOE-A-2020-5142-20052020-Obligatory-Use-of-Face-Masks

The new regulation will be valid until the end of the State of Alarm which is currently due to end on 24 May. However, this period is likely to be extended as Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, petitions Congress today to extend the State of Alarm for another two weeks until 7 June.

Salvador Illa, Minister of Health, has said that the central government would not be dishing out the masks free but has said that local authorities may do so if they wished. The maximum cost of a surgical mask has been set at € 0,96 per unit by the central government.

With more people out on the street, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, Fernando Simón, has said that there is now a need for the masks despite the confusion caused by health authorities, including the World Health Organisation, saying one minute that they were not effective, and then doing a U-turn to explain how the masks could help reduce any contagion.

Central government has now issued almost 10 million masks to regional governments, including around 7 million to Madrid.