Balearic health minister Patricia Gómez has welcomed the Spanish government's proposal to end the compulsory wearing of masks outdoors. She said on Friday that the epidemiological situation in the Balearics is "one of the best in Spain" and that this allows masks to be removed with some security.
Gómez explained that little else was known about Prime Minister Sánchez's announcement on Friday other than that the cabinet will next week be proposing the ending of wearing masks outdoors. She suggested that there will still be situations where masks will have to be worn, such as at crowded events, and hinted that decisions had yet to be made by the Inter-Territorial Council for the National Health System. Nevertheless, a Spanish government decision would be "normal" in that it would be an amendment to a decree law.
The minister added that "we have been evaluating the removal of the mask for some time based on the epidemiological situation in the country". Despite the fact that there are regions with 14-day incidence rates above 100, most of these are decreasing. The timing of the decision will therefore be opportune "because of the heat and the temperature and thanks to the fact that vaccination is progressing at a good pace". She nevertheless stressed the importance of "not dropping our guard", as there are more and more cases of "worrying" variants.
Although there had been talk of a decision on mask-wearing being imminent, Pedro Sánchez's announcement at a business event in Barcelona on Friday morning still took many by surprise. He started his presentation at the event by saying that he had a "very important announcement" for Spain's 47 million people. "I would like to tell you that we are going to hold an extraordinary council of ministers (cabinet) meeting next Thursday at which we are going to propose that masks in outdoor spaces will not be mandatory from Saturday, June 26. This will be the last weekend with masks in the open air. Our streets, our faces will begin to regain their normal appearance in the coming days."
The prime minister paid tribute to the public's discipline and to the work of health professionals. Ending the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors will be possible as "all objectives which had been set have been and are being met scrupulously".
From what Patricia Gómez said, there has yet to be possible qualification of rules regarding the wearing of masks outdoors, while the ending of the obligation outdoors will not affect mask-wearing indoors. This includes shops, bars and restaurants and public transport.