1st Sep 2020 @ 2:39 pm

Following a spike in new coronavirus infections last month, the Canarian government finally followed the rest of Spain and introduced laws making mask use compulsory in public streets and indoor and outdoor spaces that are open to the public.

First published in Gazette Life, September 1st 2020.

Exceptions include:

• Children under six years old.

• When eating at a bar or restaurant (the Canarian Health Director recently clarified that this means the time from arrival of the meal at the table until it is consumed).

• In natural or open-air spaces outside of centres of population (towns and villages) when 1.5 metre distancing can be observed.

• On beaches, when bathing or when sunbathing in a fixed place 1.5 metres from other beach users. Masks must be worn while moving onto and around beaches.

• Schools, when certain conditions are fulfilled.

• People who cannot wear a mask because of physical or psychological reasons (e.g respiratory problems, mental illness).

• When practicing sports individually in the open air.

• In any case of force majeure (emergency situations where masks must be removed).

Rules governing transport have not changed. Masks are compulsory on public transport and car occupants must wear masks if they do not live in the same home as each other.

Masks must cover the mouth and nose, and the law allows for the possibility of fines if masks are not worn correctly.

At the same time, the Canarian authorities also closed discos and nightclubs – which have been a major source of infections. Smoking has also been banned on public terraces unless a distance of two metres can be guaranteed – effectively banning smoking in many establishments.