WEARING face masks outdoors might not be needed in the near future, says Spanish health chief, Fernando Simon.
Face masks have been mandatory indoors and in outdoor spaces across Spain, regardless of social-distancing, since last summer.
Now, with falling transmission and rising vaccination rates, health officials are considering easing rules on wearing face masks outdoors, as early as in mid-June.
“If COVID-19 infection rate continues to drop, as it is currently doing … I believe it could be feasible that the mask would not be needed in outdoor open spaces in mid or late June and very likely, almost with absolute certainty, by the end of July,” Simon said during a press conference this Monday evening.
Furthermore, Simon suggested that the use of masks indoors could also be relaxed very soon, specifically among highly vaccinated groups such as those in care homes.
“It is something we have to think about and propose in the coming weeks,” he said.
Spain’s health chief defends a national approach to easing restrictions rather than a regional one and has the backing of Madrid and the central region of Castilla la Mancha who have also announced that they are considering easing face mask restrictions soon.
The dramatic drop in infection rate in recent weeks, to 121 cases per 100,000 registered this Monday, nearly halving the numbers recorded at the end of April, together with the fact that 40% of the population in Spain has received at least one vaccine shot, is prompting many regional authorities to consider looser mask rules.