European countries look to end face mask rule

Madrid Desk, Jun 17 (EFE).- A number of European countries are moving towards ending the mandatory use of face masks as Covid-19 cases drop across the continent and vaccine schemes pick up speed.

In France, face masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors starting Thursday.

Masks will only be required on public transport, in stadiums and other crowded areas. The curfew will also be lifted from June 20.

The decision to end the obligatory use of face masks and curfew comes 10 days ahead of schedule thanks to an encouraging decrease of Covid-19 cases in France.

Austria announced Thursday it would lift mandatory use of face masks both indoors and outdoors from July 1.

FFP2 face masks will only be mandatory in hospitals or nursing homes while standard face masks must continue to be used in public transport. In all other spaces, including indoors, face masks will no longer be mandatory.

The night curfew in Austria will also be lifted, meaning that night clubs and nightlife venues will be able to reopen, Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz told a press conference.

The easing of restrictions comes after Austria saw a decrease in coronavirus cases with the weekly incidence rate dropping to 15 infections per 100,000 people.

Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez said Wednesday that he was confident the mandatory use of face masks would be dropped “soon” thanks to the vaccine rollout in the country reaching “cruising speed” after a record of 3.5 million doses were administered last week.

Spain’s coronavirus incidence rate is the lowest it has been since August 2020.

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