Masks are now mandatory across almost all regions of Spain, both in indoor and outdoor public spaces.
The only exceptions are when you’re eating and drinking, doing sport or exercise or at the beach. Children under the age of six are also exempt. The first region to introduce this was Catalonia on July 9th and one of the last was Madrid on July 30th.
Anyone caught without a mask when they're supposed to wear one can be fined up to €100 euros.
Below is a list of advice from the Spanish authorities on how to wear and look after your mask.
The first thing to remember is that you must always wash your hands before putting the mask on. Hands must be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitiser when soap is not available.
Make sure your mask is not damaged and doesn’t have any holes in. It should also be clean, if you see any dirt, make sure to exchange it for a new one.
Ensure that you put your mask on the correct way around. To do this, locate the part of the mask which goes over the nose. With reusable masks, this is typically a small bump at the top of the mask and on surgical masks, it’s usually the part with the strip of metal, which can grip the bridge of your nose.
With surgical masks, always make sure that the coloured part faces the outside and that the white part is touching your face.
The mask must always be covering the mouth, nose and chin, make sure that the mask fits your face correctly. There shouldn’t be any gaps at the sides.
Surgical masks are sold at most Spanish pharmacies and reusable fabric masks are available in many shops, as well as online.
Reusable fabric face masks | Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash
Don’t touch your mask once you’ve put it on. If you need to adjust it or manipulate it to fit your face, do this by only touching the elastic string which goes behind the ears or around the back of the head.
For comfort and hygiene reasons, it’s recommended that you don’t wear the same mask for more than four hours. If the mask gets wet, exchange it for a different one straight away.
The mask should not be removed when talking with others. If you’re going to a tapas bar or restaurant, where masks don’t have to be worn, make sure you don’t put them down on any surfaces, like the table. If you’ve put your mask down anywhere, you should exchange your mask for a new one, even if it’s a reusable one.
Do not reuse masks that are not designed to be reused. This includes the surgical masks.
To take off your mask, always do it from behind, taking hold of the elastic behind the ears first, so you avoid touch the front. Once removed, put it straight in the bin and wash your hands immediately afterwards. It is recommended that the mask is put in a bin with lid to avoid spreading any potential virus particles further.
Reusable masks should be worn according to the instructions of the maker. For example, Barcelona-based company Masks for All advises that their organic cotton masks should be machine washed at 60°C on a delicate setting or hand washed with hot water and detergent, then air dried.
The government also reminds its citizens that masks alone do not protect completely against Covid-19 and that even though you have a mask on, you must still maintain a distance from others and wash your hands frequently.