14th Aug 2020 @ 9:43 am

Following a sharp increase in new Covid-19 cases, the Canarian Government yesterday approved the compulsory wearing of masks in all public places, whether or not social distancing can be guaranteed. The relevant law is already in place as of this morning.

This finally brings the Canaries into line with all the other 16 autonomous communities of Spain, where mask use has been compulsory in public spaces indoors and outdoors for weeks.  Here’s a rough guide to the dos and don’ts:

Mask use

Masks must be worn at all times on public streets and indoor and outdoor spaces that are open to the public.

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 observed.

The Canarian law published today also says that the exceptions mentioned in Article 6.2 of the Spanish Royal Decree issued on  9th June continue to be valid. These are

  • 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.


Smoking is now forbidden in streets and  public areas wherever social distancing of 2 metres cannot be guaranteed. The law also appears to apply to e-cigarettes, vaping and any other form of smoking. This rule effectively turns smoking into a solitary activity.

Restaurants and discos

Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in bars, restaurants and other establishments, and 1.5 metre distancing must be observed between tables, customers at the bar  and groups.  Discos and nightclubs are limited to open-air spaces only, which will be allowed to accommodate 75% of capacity. Customers must be served at tables and dance floors are forbidden.