Masks now obligatory

The Valencian Community announced at the weekend the widely anticipated news that masks are now obligatory. The regional Minister for Health, Ana Barceló announced at a press conference that the use of a face covering is now mandatory throughout the Valencian Community, even when the safety distance of 1.5 metres can be observed.
Effective immediately, the use of a mask is mandatory throughout the Valencian Community on public roads, in outdoor spaces and in closed spaces open to the public. This does not include beaches, swimming pools, and nature spots.
Barceló also emphasized that “it is recommended” to wear a mask in private spaces, open or closed, “when there is confluence with people who are not living together or when interpersonal distance cannot be guaranteed.”
The compulsory use of masks came into force on Saturday and applies to people from 6 years and older. Masks will not be required for people with certain type of illness, respiratory distress or who have a certain level of disabililty. The legislation specifically refers to hygienic and surgical masks (those with an exhalation valve will not be allowed, for example), and their proper placement will be from nose to chin.
Barceló has insisted on the use of masks on terraces and restaurants when food or drink is not being consumed. “The act of sitting at a table on a terrace does not mean that we should not protect ourselves,” she stressed.
Barceló also reported that currently, 20 outbreaks remain active – all which are being managed by the Ministry. “Contagions are quadrupling in the age range of 20 to 40 years. Private parties or not taking the proper precautions in entertainment venues are generating different outbreaks. It is an age range in which social contacts and mobility are more common. In addition, on many occasions they do not present symptoms and this gives a false security, and is the reason why sometimes the norms of distancing are not respected,” she indicated.
Most of the recent outbreaks have come from family gatherings or from nightlife. For this reason, venues in Gandia on the northern Costa Blanca will now be closed and the government has not ruled out that this will be applied to other municipalities in the Valencian Community.
Masks continue to be mandatory on public transport and in taxis. If you are driving alone or with members of your own household, you do not need a mask, however if you are in a vehicle with someone from a different household, all passengers (and the driver) must wear a mask. On motorbikes and mopeds, if you are alone or carrying someone you live with, you don’t need a mask. However, if you are carrying a passenger not from your household you both need a mask and gloves.
The use of a mask will not be mandatory in the following cases:
– on beaches
– at swimming pools
– in nature areas or outdoor spaces outside towns and cities and only provided that the number of people there allows for social distancing of 1.5m
– while practicing sport or any other activity when its use is incompatible
– in children’s and youth leisure activities
– while in the company of a group of people who live together
– people with respiratory diseases or problems that might be aggravated by the use of masks or those who are disabled or dependent on help.
From now on, as Ana Barceló revealed at the weekend, the use of the mask also extends to the terraces of bars and restaurants, a point in which she has emphasized when clarifying that the mask should be well placed when food or drink is not being consumed. The mask must cover both the mouth and nose.
At the press conference, Barceló appealed to the Spanish public’s collective responsibility, reminding citizens that there is still a way to go before a vaccine and asked the population not to forget everything that we have been through in hospitals and ICUs and not to forget those who have died from the virus.