Several countries across the EU have moved to introduce mask mandates once more in a bid to tackle the rising cases levels of Covid-19 on the continent. Long since seen as an effective way to halt the spread of the virus, mask wearing policies have changed in countries around the world throughout the course of the pandemic due to the threat levels of Covid-19 fluctuating, and due to fatigue from the general public.
However, on Thursday the governments of three major tourist destinations in the EU – Spain, Greece and Italy – made changes to their mask policies, which are set to affect not only when tourists should wear their masks, but also which type of masks they should pack with them to wear in these countries. Here’s everything that travelers need to know about the changes being implemented in these countries.
Mask Mandates Get An Update – What Travelers Should Know
Rising Covid-19 cases across the continent has led to countries having a rethink of their mask policies. Spain’s decision to implement stricter mask laws came following back to back days in which the country posted new Covid-19 positive case records. An emergency meeting of the Spanish cabinet on Thursday resulted in the creation of a decree-law – effective as of yesterday – which makes the wearing of face masks obligatory for those in Spain once more.
The rules now state that the wearing of masks is compulsory outdoors for everyone over 6 years old, with some exceptions such as sporting activities or when a person is alone or with household members in the mountains or at the beach. The rule was widely supported by regional leaders in the country, with only one speaking against the new measures. No details have been published as of yet regarding the quality or type of the face masks required.
Greece too got in on the act, making the wearing of masks mandatory when both indoors and outdoors. Greece is now also more specific when it comes to which type of masks are acceptable; high protection masks should be used on public transport or visiting the supermarket, otherwise travelers should wear two masks if they do not have a high protection mask. The country has also canceled its Christmas and New Year’s activities.
Greece is also asking that travelers take more tests once they have arrived into the country. Whilst not a requirement, travelers are now being recommended to take tests on days two and four of their time in the country, in addition to the compulsory negative test required to enter. Whilst nothing has been announced yet, it is believed that stricter restrictions could be on their way in the new year.
Italy is also pushing for wider mask wearing after it emerged that the country was reporting high levels of cases of the Omicron variant amongst its positive Covid-19 test results. The country has made the wearing of masks outdoors compulsory, and FFP2 protective face masks will now be required in crowded places such as cinemas, theaters and on public transport.
With mask wearing now mandatory in several destinations both at home and abroad, travelers should ensure that they pack plenty of suitable mask types in their luggage to ensure not only that they comply with any new restrictions at their destination, but that they are kept safe from Covid-19 on their travels too.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories