Brits visiting Spain this summer will NOT have to wear masks when sunbathing or swimming either in outdoor pools or in the sea.
But health chiefs say they must be put on whilst strolling along the shore or when walking to the beach.
Spain’s Interterritorial Council has clarified details following a meeting yesterday prompted by confusion over mask-wearing and a suggestion by the Spanish government that masks had to be compulsory on the beach, even when sunbathing.
The rule prompted a barrage of criticism, including from potential holidaymakers who said wearing a mask whilst sunbathing would leave them with “two tone faces” and from tourism leaders who claimed it would put tourists off from choosing Spain as their destination.
Members of the Interterritorial Council of Spain’s health service met with representatives of all the regions across the country and its islands.
The new regulations say a mask will not be required in the case of individual sport exercise or “when, due to the very nature of the activities, that use is incompatible” such as activities that when carried out involve a physical effort of a non-sporting nature, outdoors and individually, provided the minimum distance of 1.5 metres is maintained with other people who are not living together”.
The text specifies that other activities incompatible with the use of the mask are: bathing in the sea, lakes, reservoirs, rivers or in other bathing areas as well as in outdoor or covered swimming pools.
Likewise, it includes moments of rest before or after bathing or practising sports in the aquatic environment, in its surroundings. When sunbathing, masks will not be necessary with social distancing.
First aid or rescue activities when they require access to the aquatic environment are also excluded from the use of the mask.
Masks must be worn when walking through the accesses to beaches, lakes and other natural environments or on the walk to the seashore and other environments aquatic.
In addition, the mask must be worn when using changing rooms in public or community swimming pools, except in showers and while staying outside or inside hospitality establishments outside of the times necessary to eat or drink.
At the moment, Spain holidays aren’t on the cards for Brits due to an ongoing ban on international travel across the UK. (There are some legally permitted reasons to travel but a holiday isn’t one of them).
It’s currently hoped that under England’s lockdown roadmap foreign travel could resume from May 17, but this will be subject to a review from the government’s Global Travel Taskforce, the results of which are expected to be shared in the coming week.
When travel does resume, this will be based on a traffic light system with countries placed on ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ lists. ‘Green’ destinations won’t require Brits returning to the UK to quarantine, while ‘amber’ and ‘red’ destinations would require you to self-isolate at home or in a ‘quarantine hotel’.
The countries on each list haven’t yet been confirmed. The taskforce has said it will be considering four key factors when making a decision on the return to travel including the global Covid-19 situation and variants.
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Spain is currently seeing a gradual increase in its Covid cases, and continues to have restrictions in place such as social distancing, a ‘rule of six’ for outdoor gatherings and a ‘rule of four’ inside bars and restaurants.
Beaches and other public areas also have restricted capacity – for example, Benidorm has social distancing squares which visitors need to reserve.
Spain’s tourism minister Fernando Valdés previously said that the Spanish government is in talks with the UK regarding making travel between the two countries easier in time for summer, for example by introducing a ‘green corridor’.
What do you think of Spain’s face mask rules? Let us know in the comments below.