European Countries Bring Back Mandatory Outdoor Mask Wearing As Covid Cases Surge

A woman wearing a face mask walks in Palma de Mallorca on May 11, 2020 as Spain moved towards easing its strict lockdown in certain regions. - One of the worst-hit countries, Spain plans a phased transition through to end-June, with around half of the 47 million population being allowed …
JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

The governments in Spain and Greece have announced that residents will once again be forced to wear masks in outdoor public settings amid increasing numbers of cases of the Chinese coronavirus among their populations.

The Spanish government announced this week that starting from Christmas Eve, all residents over the age of six will be required to wear a mask outdoors in any spaces open to the public.

“With this new regulation, every time we go out on the street we have to go with a mask, except in nature areas or during the practice of individual sports,” Spain’s Minister of Health Carolina Darias said according to the newspaper El Mundo reported.

Minister Darias added that the rules were necessary due to increased interactions during the Christmas season, with more people travelling and gathering in crowds outside.

“Masks protect us, they prevent the spread by aerosols,” she said.

In Greece, the government has also announced new measures that will once again require mandatory mask-wearing outdoors in response to the Omicron variant of the Wuhan virus, with new confirmed cases continuing to rise in the country.

Staring Friday, masks will be required in all outdoor and indoor public settings, with people being required to wear two masks or an N95 grade mask in order to go to the supermarket or use public transit, Kathimerini reported.

The new restrictions are expected to continue throughout the entire Christmas period, lasting until at least January 2nd.

New restrictions are expected to be announced on January 3rd, however, no details have been released, other than the government promising Greeks that lockdowns will not make a return as they did in Austria earlier this month.

Austria has, however, continued with the policy of keeping unvaccinated people under lockdown while granting some freedoms to the vaccinated. This week, the Austrian government extended the lockdown for the unvaccinated for another ten days as the emergency powers can only be implemented for ten-day periods.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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