Spain: Expert discusses country re-opening to tourists
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Spain has introduced strict rules on the use of face masks in all public spaces, including on beaches, even in instances where social distancing can be met. However, it was met with some contention from the Balearic Islands Government, who questioned whether or not there could be some flexibility.
Balaeric Island health minister Patricia Gomez spoke up on the need for flexibility in certain situations.
Speaking at a press conference, the minister said: “We believe that masks should not be worn on beaches if you are with people from the same household or if the safety distance can be respected.”
Since then, the nation has confirmed it will allow beachgoers to ditch their mask if two specific conditions can be met.
The first of these is for people who are visiting the beach alone or with their household.
In this instance, as long as they are not coming into contact with anyone from outside of their immediate bubble, they will not be required to wear a face covering.
The second is if a social distancing of 1.5 metres can be maintained from another person or group outside of their household.
The Balearic Islands have bene able to introduce these amendments under their own regional legislation.
Ms Gomez explained: “There is a sentence in the national law that mentions ‘in conformity with the health authorities’.
“Our legal team understand that by this, our legislation is not superseded by the national one, and therefore, our own measures will remain in force.”
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Police forced in the region are said to have been updated on the new rules and will not be dishing out fines to any household bubbles not wearing masks over the Easter weekend.
Similarly, the Canary Islands have also relaxed the face mask law in certain situations.
Anyone swimming or sunbathing will not be required to wear a face mask.
Though travel to Spain has not yet been confirmed for Britons, should holidays resume, it is likely British tourists will have to don a mask when visiting the beach.
Some hotels may also implement their own rules around wearing masks when poolside.
Wearing a face mask in public was introduced in Spain last year.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) explains: “The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of six years old on all forms of public transport in Spain and in many other indoor and outdoor public spaces, even when social distancing of 1.5 metres is observed.
“Specific rules on the use of face masks may vary from one region to the next.
“You should refer to local authorities for advice.”
The FCDO further warns penalties may be imposed for those caught flouting face mask rules.
“You should carry a face mask with you at all times and be prepared to wear it during your stay,” the travel advice continues.
“Face masks must cover the nose and mouth.
“There are some exceptions to the use of face masks such as when practising sport, eating or drinking, or at the beach, however rules may vary from one region to the next.”
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