Coronavirus Madrid lockdown Day 65: Masks will now be mandatory. Now??…

We’ve been living an a State of Emergency since March 14th, only being able to go out to the supermarket and the pharmacy for the first six weeks. Now, more than two months later we can go out to exercise and to take our kids out for an hour a day. While we’re still in the preliminary phases of recovery (currently Madrid is in Phase 0.5, whatever that exactly means…), it seems that things are moving along positively. In fact, it was announced that there were “only” 59 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, so the situation seems to be getting better. As things are finally starting to seem to improve, the government is now making it mandatory to wear masks in closed spaces and when it can’t be guaranteed that there will be 2 meters of space between yourself and another person. It’s true that the country is slowing starting to open up, but …hmmm… this now, why not before?

Screenshot 2020-05-18 at 22.32.17

Here’s a recent article: https://elpais.com/sociedad/2020-05-18/el-uso-de-mascarilla-sera-obligatorio-en-espacios-cerrados-y-en-la-via-publica-si-no-se-puede-garantizar-la-distancia.html

Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this being mandatory if this is a way to keep the virus under control and to prevent a second phase, but I’d just like someone to explain why this hasn’t been mandatory all along. I can only think of two reasons: 1. The government was incapable of having enough supplies for everyone, which is why they didn’t make this a requirement even if they thought it should be one. or 2. Really, no one knew what was going on or had any idea what to do.

From talking with my family back in Boston I found it interesting that they have not ever been under lockdown to the point where they could get a fine for being outside, yet it has been mandatory to wear face masks for some time now.

Honestly, the government’s advice related to the use of face masks here has been anything but not confusing. We’ve gone through a few phases since the start of the pandemic:  first, face masks were discouraged for asymptomatic people. Then their use was made “recommended”. Next face masks were made required for people using public transportation. And now, over 2 months later face masks will be mandatory in general for the uses/situations I’ve already mentioned. To add to the confusion there’s even doubt over the efficacy of the free masks being handed out in pharmacies by the Community of Madrid (see my recent post: COVID-19 in Madrid: Lockdown Day 63 (possibly to be continued another month)

Given the confusion with the requirements I’m also expecting some confusion with the details about their use, which should be communicated soon. Logically, this poses some questions: how long will this be mandatory and how will it be enforced? What kind of face mask should I wear? (if you’re like me you probably know there are different types but not all the details) Should I be expecting to see officers patrolling the mountain where I go out for my runs?

Just another chapter in the pandemic here in Madrid. Thank goodness Mercadona now sells 10 packs of masks for 6€…

 

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