SPAIN’S government has asked everybody to wear masks at their workplace from next week.
The call comes after non-essential workers will be allowed to return to their duties, after a fortnight-long suspension which saw many people forced to remain at home.
Health Minister, Salvador Illa, made the plea over mask wearing this morning (April 10) after a cabinet meeting, which decided to press on further with the production of more masks.
Illa also emphasised the importance of using facial protective gear on public transport during commutes to and from work.
He added that masks will be made available at bus and train stations in some urban areas, including Madrid.
The government’s move comes just two days after the European Centre for Disease Control recommended that masks be worn whenever possible.
The Health Minister also asked for anybody that has had even the mildest of coronavirus symptoms not to return to work.
That ‘stay at home’ call also applied to people who have had contact with someone who had contracted Covid-19 or displayed signs of it.
Illa asked for employers to maintain social distancing rules, especially in entrance areas to workplaces to avoid any crowding.
He also wanted bosses to stagger shift times in urban areas to avoid large numbers using public transport.
Some of these suggestions are included in a Guide to Good Practices, which is going to be published over the weekend, and will include the recommendation over mask wearing.
“We want to limit to the very maximum the contagions across country,” Illa added.
Illa reminded everybody at a news conference that the State of Alarm rules were not being relaxed, despite the return of non-essential workers.
“Confinement rules will remain until at least April 26,” said Illa. “We may be preparing to relax the restrictions but we have not reached that stage yet.”
The Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has already made it clear that he will almost certainly seek a further extension to the State of Alarm for a further 15 days through to May 10.
In an interesting turn of phrase, Illa described everything as “entering a new sense of normal where we will not be crossing a door but walking across a hallway.”
The inference of Illa’s words being that the battle to control the spread of Covid-19 has still some months left in it.