The regional government of Spain’s Balearic islands is set to follow Catalonia’s lead by making the wearing of face masks compulsory in public areas even when the required 1.5-metre social distancing can be observed, according to Spanish media reports.
Quoting sources in the islands’ health department, the news agency Efe reports that an official order mandating the increased use of masks is due to be published on Friday or Saturday.
Efe says there will be exceptions for beaches, swimming pools, playing sport, eating and drinking, and playing wind instruments. The regional government could also reintroduce a limit on the number of people allowed to gather in one place.
The regional health minister, Patricia Gómez, said the government was still looking at possible fines and sanctions for those breaking the proposed rule.
“We’re looking into fine amounts and sanction systems,” she told Spain’s Cadena Ser radio. “When it comes to not wearing a mask, the fine won’t be more than €100, but we’re looking at other punishments.”
Spain has since June ordered the use of masks indoors and outside where 1.5 metres of social distancing cannot be maintained.
On Wednesday the Catalan government announced that people not wearing a mask from Thursday would be fined €100.
Its spokeswoman Meritxell Budó said: “We understand we should go a little further and enforce mask-wearing regardless of the physical distance between people. It is very important to protect ourselves and others.”
A renewed outbreak of coronavirus around Lleida has forced a new lockdown for 200,000 inhabitants and pushed hospitals to the brink.
On Wednesday, Spanish health authorities said the daily Covid-19 infection count had doubled over the past 24 hours following dozens of small outbreaks.
On Thursday, Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, confirmed that there were 73 active outbreaks across the country, but said they were “normal” and to be expected following the end of the strict lockdown period.”The measures that have been taken are sufficient and are working,” he told Antena 3 TV.