British tourists will have to wear facemasks while sunbathing on the beach in Spain this summer
British holidaymakers will have to wear facemasks on the beach if they are looking to head to a Spanish shore this summer.
The Spanish government issued a directive on Tuesday tightening up the use of face coverings.
Masks will become obligatory in public at all times, even on the beach when people are sunbathing and social distancing.
The new diktat is expected to remove powers from regional authorities to exempt sun seekers from taking facemasks off even when they are lying on their towels.
In response to the news, the Balearic Islands insisted it would try to make the Spanish government see sense and backtrack on the tough new rules.
It remains to be seen how police will enforce the rules to enable tourists to go for a swim in the sea without leaving themselves open to a fine, although they are expected to adopt a common-sense approach where they see people heading for the water without a face covering on.
But the tightening of the rules will leave holidaymakers at risk of mask tan lines this summer in popular tourist areas like the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol.
These tourists were among the first to enjoy a day on the beach wearing facemasks in Mallorca
British holidaymakers will have to wear facemasks on the beach if they are looking to head to a Spanish beach this summer, the Spanish government said on Tuesday. Pictured: Expats and locals on the beach in Benidorm [File photo]
Only children under six and adults with illnesses that could cause breathing difficulties will be exempted from wearing face masks in public at all times.
People doing individual sport outdoors will also be exempt, although regional communities are expected to maintain the right to make masks compulsory for the likes of runners and cyclists if they see fit.
Balearic Islands governors, responsible for Majorca and Ibiza, were among those who exempted beachgoers from wearing face masks last summer, though social distancing measures were in place.
However, the new decree from the central government, issued in an official state bulletin, makes masks obligatory at all times in public even when people are five feet apart.
Spain reported 1,5501 new cases and 989 deaths on Tuesday. The country is among the hardest-hit in Europe, having recorded 3.27million cases and 75,199 deaths since the pandemic began last year.
Life’s a beach… but at least some people are getting to enjoy the sun
Spain reported 1,5501 new cases on Tuesday, along with 989 deaths. Cases have seen a sharp decline since restrictions were brought in following a spike in late January and early February
Balearic Islands Health Secretary Patricia Gomez insisted after the change was made public that she will try to seek an amendment to exempt people who live together as well as sunbathers who are on their own and practising social distancing.
She said the law had to be obeyed if the Spanish government stuck to its guns, but added: ‘We consider that in the case of social meetings involving more than one family nucleus facemasks should be worn, but when it’s the same family composed of people who live under the same roof, it shouldn’t be necessary.
Mrs Gomez said the issue would be discussed at a meeting between the government and different regions before the end of the week, raising the prospect that alterations to the tough new diktat may be made.
Spanish government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero also confirmed parts of the new rules could be up for discussion after a cabinet meeting Tuesday.
Any move to soften them, and allow sunbathers to take their face masks off while sunbathing if they are with their own family or accompanied by a partner they live with, would be welcomed by tourist chiefs.
Spain is among the hardest-hit in Europe, having recorded 3.27million cases and 75,199 deaths since the pandemic began last year
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave hope to those hoping for holidays abroad this summer by insisting on Monday that the door ‘was not shut.’
He told ITV’s This Morning that more will be known from government scientists in the next few weeks regarding whether it will be safe for Brits to travel abroad for holidays.
‘We’re not yet sure, but we’re doing the science in Porton Down, and watching very closely, and if that all goes well, then we haven’t got a problem and then we’ll be much more relaxed about international travel.
‘We will know more over the next few weeks.’
Public Health England’s lab in Porton Down is trying to determine whether current vaccines are less effective against variants of coronavirus such as those found in South Africa, Brazil and Kent.
Mr Hancock said: ‘The door is not shut on foreign holidays this summer, it’s just too early to say.’
Masks will become obligatory in public at all times, even on the beach when people are sunbathing and social distancing. Pictured: Poniente beach in Benidorm [File photo]
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