The Balearic Islands have announced that wearing facemasks in public will be mandatory, a ruling that goes beyond the general Spanish mandate that only requires citizens to wear facemasks whilst in ‘close proximity’ to others. This puts the Balearics on a par with Catalonia, who have also gone beyond official regulations in attempting to control the coronavirus. Both regions are some of the largest tourist destinations in Spain, yet the two regions’ experiences over the pandemic could not be more different: Catalonia suffered Spain’s second highest death toll whilst the Balearics were left largely unaffected.
Spain has managed to successfully curb one of the worst outbreaks in Europe, which saw more than 28,000 people lose their life. However, recently small outbreaks have begun to crop up across the Iberian peninsula prompting localised lockdowns in Catalonia and Galicia. According to the new regulations, in Catalonia anyone aged six or over is required to wear a mask (in the Balearics it’s seven and over), and anyone ignoring the rules will be subject to a 100 euro fine. However, tourists should be aware that there are exceptions: face masks are not mandatory at the beach, at swimming pools, when carrying out sports activities, or at work unless people are working in public spaces or where there is public access. As foreign travel becomes increasingly widespread, it is of utmost importance to keep aware of local regulations to avoid heavy penalties and unnecessary risk.