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Spain says “smiles will replace masks” but stops short of total veto for the time being 

Spain has adopted “flexibility” over the wearing of masks in outdoor spaces but has stopped short of a total veto.

The Council of Ministers today approved, through a Royal Decree-law, new regulations which come into force on Saturday. As of the publication of the standard in the Official State Gazette, and in general, the use of masks in outdoor spaces will no longer be mandatory, as long as a minimum distance of at least one meter and a half between people who do not live together or groups of people who live together can be maintained.Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has argued that all the indicators related to the pandemic are evolving favourably, as well as the vaccination campaign. In this regard, she recalled that yesterday the milestone of fifteen million Spaniards vaccinated with the full schedule was reached, 32% of the population, and 50% with at least one dose.

Darias stressed that Spain is leading the vaccination campaign in the European Union: “We have been the first country to have reached one hundred percent complete guideline in people over 80 years of age.”In this context, the minister pointed out, and after yesterday’s meeting of the Interterritorial Health Council, the Government has proposed making the use of masks more flexible, a measure that joins others adopted by the autonomous communities in order to recover the normal.

The Health Minister stressed that it is “a prudent decision, in line with the measures adopted by the countries around us, and that it will mean that masks give way to smiles again.”Carolina Darias has specified that it will not be mandatory to wear a mask outdoors when an interpersonal distance of five feet is maintained, unless one goes with cohabitants: “We know that it is a distance where there is no interaction in the spread of the virus and, therefore, there is no risk. “However, the mask will be mandatory in open spaces with crowds of people or closed. The minister has given as example libraries, pharmacies, supermarkets or means of public transport: air and sea, bus, rail and cable car. It will also be in the private transport of travellers, such as cars, if the occupants do not live in the same address.In the case of passengers on ships and boats, the minister has pointed out that it will not be necessary to wear masks when passengers are inside their cabin or on the deck if they maintain a distance of one and a half metres.

The mask will be mandatory in large outdoor events, such as concerts, when the audience is standing or sitting at a distance of less than five feet.Residents in senior centers or care centers for people with functional diversity with vaccination coverage of more than 80% will not have to wear masks, but the people who work there and the visitors will.

The minister has announced that the public will be able to return to the stadiums when the Professional Soccer League and the ACB Basketball League begin.And she also revealed that in a next Council of Ministers the limitations on airport terminals are relaxed.Carolina Darias has underlined the behavior of citizens when using the mask: “We have been the country where we have worn the mask with the most restriction and the public has responded in an exemplary way.”