The end of the obligation to wear masks in Spain is now official. The Official State Gazette published this Wednesday the Royal Decree 286/2022, of April 19, which modifies the mandatory nature of its use during the health crisis situation caused by Covid. As announced yesterday by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, the rule states that the use of masks will only be mandatory in health centers, social health establishments and on public transport. Therefore, in workplaces, schools or stores it will no longer be required to carry face mask. The royal decree has entered into force today, the same day of its publication, although it offers few details on specific cases.
The rule, in its only article, clarifies little about the obligation to use it in the workplace, and only specifies in the statement of reasons how it will be used at work. “In the work environment, in general, the use of masks will not be mandatory,” the text states. “However, those responsible for the prevention of occupational risks, in accordance with the corresponding risk assessment of the job, may determine the appropriate preventive measures that must be implemented in the workplace or in certain spaces of the work centers , including the possible use of masks, if this is derived from the aforementioned evaluation. In other words, the royal decree gives carte blanche to those responsible for occupational risks in the workplace to demand or not its use.
Nor does the text mention anything about schools, although yesterday the minister warned that in no case, schools may make the use of the mask mandatory, although they may modify the capacity in case the autonomous community so decides.
The single article of the royal decree specifies the three cases in which the use of masks will continue to be mandatory. The first, in “health centers, services and establishments” for workers, visitors and patients, with the exception of people admitted when they stay in their room. In social and health centers (for example nursing homes) “workers and visitors when they are in shared areas”. And the third assumption, “in the means of air, rail or cable transport and in buses, as well as in public passenger transport”. In none of these cases will it be mandatory for people who have some type of illness or respiratory difficulty or in the event that the use of the mask is incompatible with the activity in question.
With this royal decree, the previous Royal Decree 115/2022, of February 8, which eliminated the mandatory use of the mask abroad, is repealed. In turn, that royal decree nullified sections 1 and 2 of article 6 of Law 2/2021, of March 29.