This content is not available in your region

Spain lifts facemask rules for some places, Cyprus to ease COVID measures

Access to the comments Comments
By AP  with Euronews
Spain is taking another step toward post-pandemic normality by partially ending the obligatory use of masks indoors.
Spain is taking another step toward post-pandemic normality by partially ending the obligatory use of masks indoors.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Paul White

Spain and Cyprus have become the latest European Union countries to ease COVID-19 rules about facemasks.

On Tuesday, the Spanish government passed a decree that partially ended a near two-year-long obligatory use of masks indoors.

Masks will still be mandatory for visitors and staff in medical centres and nursing homes in Spain, but patients won’t always have to wear them.

Masks will also still need to be worn on all forms of public transportation, but not in stations or airports.

The Spanish government has also allowed employers -- such as banks, factories, and shops -- to decide whether to keep facemasks if they deem there is a health risk.

The use of facemasks is recommended in packed areas or in the presence of vulnerable people, but schools are also exempted from having to use them.

“The mask without doubt has been one of the most identifiable measures over the past two years and it will no longer be obligatory,” Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Tuesday.

“They will continue to be with us as an element of protection, particularly for the most vulnerable.”

More than 92% of Spain's population aged over 12 have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while the number of infections and deaths and dropped sharply in recent months.

Spain has also abolished mandatory isolation rules for people infected with the virus who experience only mild symptoms.

Cyprus meanwhile is also further winding down the compulsory use of facemasks, as well as COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

Health Minister Michael Hadjipantela announced on Wednesday that health passes will no longer be required to enter most venues from May 15.

However, citizens will still need to prove they are vaccinated or have recovered from infection to enter nightclubs, music halls, clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.

Obligatory mask-wearing in the outdoor areas of bars and restaurants ends on Friday, while children aged 12 and under won’t have to wear masks starting on May 15.

Most capacity limits for nightclubs and restaurants will also be lifted next month.

On Thursday, thegovernment in Portugal also decided to end obligatory mask-wearing in most indoor places, including schools.

Masks will still need to be worn in Portuguese hospitals and care homes, as well as on public transport.

"In view of the positive evolution of the epidemiological situation in Portugal, the government has decided to review certain restrictions still in force," the government said in a statement.