Spain last month became the only country in the world which demands the use of face masks by passengers on all flights to and from its airports.  On December 12, Minister of Health Carolina Darias confirmed they would remain mandatory, at least for now. 

Speaking as she arrived in Brussels, the Minister said, “We have always taken decisions based on the advice of experts and that is what we will continue to do.”  She also stressed the importance of caution at this time of year, explaining that respiratory viruses thrive during the winter months.

Reports say that the Spanish health system is feeling the strain of a triple epidemic with COVID-19, bronchitis and flu cases rising rapidly.  However, the country’s Association of Airlines has criticised the government’s stance on the use of face masks.

It described the mandatory face mask requirement as “incomprehensible” and “real nonsense,” and says it is having a negative impact on tourism.  The Association’s president Javier Gandara has also claimed that passengers on long-haul flights to Spain are required to wear face masks only for the last hour of their journey while they are over-flying Spanish territory.

Meanwhile, wearing a face mask remains a requirement on Spain’s public transport system and in medical centres, and for workers and visitors in care homes.