A controversial law which makes face masks mandatory in all outdoor settings, including beaches, swimmings and in nature where previously masks weren’t always obligatory is now approved by the Spanish government. This made people think that the Covid insanity never ends.
Spain has made it mandatory to wear a face mask in all public places, including at the beach, at the swimming pool or the countryside where previously people could remove them as long as they kept their distance.
This received a dismay reaction from Spanish tourist industry
Now, regardless of the safety distance of 1.5 metres, people will have to keep their mask on at all times in public.
“We’re going through hell with thousands of jobs and businesses threatened and now they want to turn the beaches into open-air field hospitals,” José Luis Zoreda, vice-president of Exceltur, the umbrella organisation that represents Spain’s tourism industry, told El País newspaper.
Industry representatives complain that they were not consulted over the decision, which was announced in an official state bulletin on Tuesday.
“We’ve already given up on Easter as a lost cause,” said Zoreda. “Now we have to put our hopes on summer.”
He said the “improvised measures” did not inspire confidence on the part of the foreign visitors whom the struggling industry is desperate to bring back. Tourism accounts for about 12% of Spain’s GDP.
Since July last year, wearing masks have been obligatory indoors and out in Catalonia and in Valencia since early this year, despite claims by scientists that there is a very low risk of contagion in the open air.
Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s coordination centre health emergencies and alerts, sad earlier this month “I don’t believe that masks are the key to reducing transmission. It’s not necessary for everyone to wear one. What’s important is that people who are infected wear one, although we don’t know who is infected and who isn’t.” Simón added that they should be obligatory in enclosed spaces.
The Sunday Times UK reported:
A law to enforce facemasks in public, even when sunbathing or on the beach, has spread dismay through Spain’s tourism industry.
The legislation, which came into effect on Wednesday, makes wearing a mask obligatory, even for children as young as six. Only adults playing sport are exempt. Anyone not complying faces a €100 fine.
Reactions in resorts across Spain have been mixed. Balearic and Canary Island officials have said that the law will not be enforced at swimming pools and on beaches.
A national health commission said that it would review the rules. Hours after it came into effect, Carolina Darías, the health minister, said: “We have to study if the law allows us a certain degree of manoeuvre.”
The government has reacted to criticism, saying the decree is open to interpretation and that details of its implementation would be hammered out between central government and Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.
In Catalonia, where masks have been compulsory for the past eight months, exceptions are made for outdoor sporting activities, eating, drinking and smoking.
Officially, eating and drinking in the street is prohibited, but the measure is rarely enforced.
Meanwhile, there are growing fears of a fourth wave as four regions, including Madrid, reported an infection rate of 250 per 100,000 of population over the past 14 days.
Until the government is convinced, Tuesday’s decree will remain in force that the pandemic has ended, suggesting that mask wearing will be a fact of life in Spain for some time to come.