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Viewpoint: Masks on beaches

Warning Warning! Face masks are now compulsory on all Spanish beaches. What!? Since when was this the case? Well, on Monday, which was when I was tempted to click on an MSN news item, it had been the case ten hours previously.

I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but there are times when you can’t help yourself, even if the MSN link is to the Daily Express. (Ten hours ago) – “Spain: Mallorca beaches quiet as new restrictions are imposed.” “Face masks are now compulsory on all Spanish beaches.” There was a short video with some beaches; the footage could have been taken at any time.

But there didn’t seem to be much evidence of mask-wearing. In fact, there wasn’t any. That would have been because there is no such compulsion. Several months ago, the Spanish government decreed that masks on beaches must be worn. Regions with beaches, such as the Balearics, turned round and basically said don’t be so daft. The order was dropped.

Strictly speaking, masks should be worn outdoors if social distancing cannot be guaranteed, but observation of this rule is limited; enforcement even less so. The most recent Spanish government decree regarding masks has been in force since July 26. But as to there being compulsory wearing on beaches “now”, this is clearly not the case. So why say that it is? Moreover, why conjure up a relationship between this apparent compulsion and supposedly quiet beaches in Mallorca? That’s because Mallorca sells, misinformation and all.

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