Spain votes to end obligatory outdoor face mask rule

The measure was passed despite some members of Congress advocating for a return to the face mask rule in all circumstances, as a fifth wave of coronavirus infections spreads across Europe. [EFE/ Nacho Gallego]

Spanish parliament has approved a government decree of 26 June that ends the obligation to wear face masks outdoors when distancing is practicable. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

The measure was passed despite some members of Congress advocating for a return to the face mask rule in all circumstances, as a fifth wave of coronavirus infections spreads across Europe.

After the relaxation of restrictions at the national level, the country’s regional governments have pushed to reinstate restrictions and curfews in their jurisdictions.

Health Minister Carolina Darias defended the decree and insisted that face masks continue to be mandatory in most circumstances, with the freedom to take them off restricted to specific situations.

The measure was backed by 180 MPs, with 90 voting against and 78 abstaining.

The Socialist Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and junior left-wing partners Unidas Podemos both supported the measure, while the right-wing Popular Party opposed it and the far-right VOX abstained. 

[Edited by Paula Kenny, Daniel Eck] 

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