REPRESENTATIVES from Spain’s travel industry have railed against the government for keeping in place the obligatory use of masks on public transport, including on planes. Leaders from the sector claim that the measure is damaging companies as well as the country’s reputation as a travel destination.
Spain is now the only country in Europe and one of the few in the world where face coverings are still required on flights, despite the flu virus currently causing more hospitalisations in the country than Covid-19.
‘Their use should be voluntary,’ said Carlos Garrido, from the CEAV travel agency association.
Health Minister Carolina Darias once again ruled out lifting the obligation to wear masks on Friday, basing her decision on ‘experts’ who her ministry has not identified, according to Spanish daily El Pais.
Spain’s Association of Airlines said that it was ‘inexplicable’ for Spain to maintain the need to use masks.
Its president, Javier Gándara, pointed out that passengers on Spanish airlines must wear the coverings at all times when flying to or from an airport in Spain, but only need to wear them when over Spanish airspace if flying with a foreign airline.
‘You get the situation where, on a 12-hour flight, 11 of those are without a mask and the last is with, and they expect that this will reduce the possibility of contagion,’ he said.
‘If a customer wants to fly to the United States and can choose between an airline where they don’t have to wear a mask or a Spanish one, where they are obligatory, they will pick the first option,’ Garrido said.
Currently in Spain, masks must still be worn on public transport, in healthcare settings and in pharmacies.