Two European countries that were among the last to cling on to an indoor mask mandate have now officially dropped their mask wearing requirements.
Spain and Portugal, two heavyweights of European tourism and popular vacation destinations for travelers from all over the world, made the changes to their mask policies just this week, a move that is bound to put the two Iberian countries back on the map for millions of tourists this summer.
With these changes being made, travel to Europe has never been closer to normal than at any stage during the pandemic so far. Here’s a closer look at what exactly is set to change in Spain and Portugal – including in which situations masks are still expected to be worn by travelers – plus a recap of which European countries have ditched the masks already and which are yet to do so.
Spain Drops Mask Requirement – Information For Travelers
Spain’s decision to drop the indoor mask mandate became official on April 20th. The change means that travelers visiting the country will now no longer have to wear a mask in establishments such as bars, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums, concert halls, shopping centers, supermarkets, gyms, and schools – making the experience of visiting Spain for many travelers just like it was in pre-pandemic times.
Travelers will however be expected to wear masks in the following situations:
- Hospitals and other health-related businesses such as dental clinics and pharmacies
- Care homes
- On public transport, which includes airplanes, buses, trains, metros, taxis and ferries
It is also recommended that people who are over 60, immunosuppressed or pregnant should carry on wearing masks when appropriate indoors. Masks are also recommended in crowded spaces when social distancing isn’t possible.
Portugal Eases Mask Mandate – What Travelers Should Know
Spain’s neighbor Portugal has also removed their indoor mask mandate this week, with the change going live from April 21st. The change to the policy means that travelers will now no longer be required to wear a mask when visiting several different types of indoor establishments, such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centres and museums. The removal of the indoor mask mandate was made possible due to low infection and high vaccination rates in the country.
As is the case with Spain, there are still some exceptions to the rule which means that masks will still be required in some situations. This includes when using all types of public transport. Masks will also need to be worn by travelers when visiting healthcare institutions and places that are frequented by vulnerable people in order to minimize the potential spread of the virus in such places.
In removing their indoor mask mandate, Portugal and Spain have joined several other European nations that have also waved goodbye to face masks in recent weeks.
Whilst Italy still has a mask mandate in place, it is expected to repeal it next month.
In order to enter Spain, travelers must either be fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, with no testing requirements in place. Travelers to Portugal must either be vaccinated against Covid-19, have a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival or an antigen test within 24 hours of arrival. The need to fill in a passenger locator form prior to entering Portugal has also been removed.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com