Spain to lift outdoor mask requirement

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 18 2021 06:48 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2021 07:21 PM

Spain to lift outdoor mask requirement 1
People wearing protective face masks sit on a bench in front of the Barceloneta beach, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain April 2, 2021. Nacho Doce, Reuters/File Photo

Spain will lift the legal requirement to wear a mask outdoors from June 26, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday. 

"This will be the last weekend when we wear masks outdoors because next June 26 we won't have to wear masks in outdoor public spaces," he said.

The lifting is to be approved at a special cabinet meeting on Thursday, Sanchez said on a visit to Barcelona. 

"In the coming days, our streets and our faces will regain their normal appearance," he said, hailing it as a "very important decision from a social point of view". 

"We will start to enjoy life in the street without wearing a mask."

Masks first became obligatory on public transport in early May 2020 in a bid to reduce Covid-19 infections, and within weeks were made compulsory in the street for anyone aged six and above. 

Anyone violating the rules has faced a fine.

Earlier this year, Spain briefly introduced a law making masks obligatory at all times on the beach but after a backlash it was amended, meaning they weren't necessary while sunbathing or swimming -- if social distancing was respected.

Spain has so far lost over 80,000 lives to the virus and counted more than 3.7 million cases.