Facemasks no longer compulsory outdoors as of next Thursday

Minister Darias announces that the measure will be approved by the cabinet on Thursday

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A woman walking down the street wearing a mask.

BarcelonaThe Spanish Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has announced this Friday that next week masks will no longer be compulsory outdoors. In an interview with SER she has stated that the end of the mandate will be approved next Tuesday by the cabinet and the following day it will be published in the Official Gazette of the State. "It was a very important non-pharmacological measure throughout the pandemic that we recovered because it was very effective as a barrier effect but we also knew that we would keep it for the time strictly necessary, until the indicators showed that we could act differently," she argued.

Next Monday the suppression of masks will be discussed with regional governments in the Interterritorial Health Council. Catalonia had asked for its withdrawal outdoors because it considers it "ineffective". The mask became obligatory again outdoors in the day run-up to Christmas because of the rampant increase in contagions due to the spread of the Omicron variant and crowds in the streets. "At that time we did not know how the omicron would behave from the point of view of care," admitted the minister. Now, she said, the infection curve of the sixth wave has peaked: "With all due caution, we are in a phase of decline".

The disappearance of masks in the street will come a week after the controversial debate on the validation of the decree which established the mandate. The Spanish government included this point in the same bill as a revaluation of pensions, a move branded as "blackmail" by the opposition.