There has been much debate, since the Canary Islands de-escalated from the State of Emergency, between bar owners, hospitality providers, clients, residents and tourists about when and where masks must be used and safety distances maintained.  From the beginning it has always been the case that if you are meeting with someone you do not live with you are expected to maintain a minimum interpersonal distance of 1.5m and if you are unable to guarantee that, then you are expected to wear a mask.

The last few weeks have proven difficult for many to understand, and even more difficult to enforce, and so as a control measure The Canary Islands Government have now stipulated that masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces and areas open to the public, except while eating and drinking.  Outdoors the rules remain pretty much the same, if you cannot guarantee a minimum distance of 1.5m you must wear a mask.  For clarity, the Governing Council have also strongly recommended masks be worn even in private settings indoors, when people form different households meet, and that the safety distance should be maintained even outdoors at private events.

In open spaces, physical face protection is mandatory when the recommended safety distance cannot be maintained and guaranteed.

In hospitality businesses, restaurants, cafés and bars, 1.5 meters separation must be respected, between tables or groups of tables, as well as at the bar, between clients or groups. Groups can be up to 10 people maximum per table or group of tables indoors.

The Canary Islands Governing Council on Monday approved specific updates to prevention measures guidance established by the June 19, 2020 Government Agreement, as part of the COVID-19 health crisis response “Plan for the transition to a new normality.”

It has been specifically stated that everyone over six years of age is required to wear a mask in the following cases:

On public roads and in all outdoor spaces, when it is not possible to guarantee a safety distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people.

In any closed space for public use, or that is open to the public, regardless of whether people maintain the interpersonal safety distance of at least 1.5 meters.

Owners of establishments, spaces and premises must guarantee compliance with these obligations and clearly establish the recommended safety distance within their establishments by placing visible signs.

Use of masks in Educational Centres

In non-university educational centres masks will be mandatory except:

– in the case of stable school coexistence groups. (pods or “bubbles” designed to keep students within a scheduling group)

– in other school groups, when students are sitting at their desks and at a minimum distance of at least 1.5 metres.

 Use of masks in hotels and restaurants

All guests, staff and clients are obliged to wear a mask within closed indoor public areas and spaces of hotels and restaurant establishments and hospitality services, including bars and cafeterias. These may be removed only when eating food or drinking, and while maintaining the minimum social distance of 1.5m. In open outdoor spaces of these establishments and services, masks may be removed as long as the minimum interpersonal safety distance of at least 1.5 meters is guaranteed and maintained between non-cohabitants, and, of course while, eating and drinking.

 Correct use of the mask

The correct use of masks is mandatory, preferably hygienic and reusable masks, they must cover the nose and mouth completely at all times. Likewise, masks must be adequately adjusted to the nose and chin, so as to prevent the expulsion of respiratory secretions into the environment.

The obligation to wear a mask will not be required in cases provided for in article 6.2 of Royal Decree Law 21/2020, of June 9, on urgent measures for prevention, containment and coordination to deal with the health crisis caused by COVID -19.

The Canary Islands Government approves the mandatory use masks in all closed indoor spaces even when 1.5 meter social distancing is guaranteed.

Government councillor Julio Perez announces Government approving the use of the mandatory mask in closed spaces even with 1.5 metre social distancing

Recommendations for meetings between people who do not live together

The use of a mask is recommended even within private spaces, both outdoors and indoors, when people who do not live together meet each other.

Other measures

The Governing Council also agreed to adapt other measures from the Government Agreement of June 19, 2020, with regard to safety distances. Interpersonal safety distance maintenance measures established by the June 9 Royal Decree Law 21/2020, to maintain at least 1.5 meters between individuals, must be complied with on public roads, in outdoor spaces and in any closed indoor space open to the public or, failing that, alternative physical protection measures (PPE Personal Protective Equipment) must be used including  the use of a suitable hygiene mask and respiratory label.

In addition, emphasis is placed on the recommendation to avoid staying indoors, in crowded places or close to other people.

– Security distances and indoor table occupancy for 10 people

In hospitality, restaurant, café and bar activities, a separation distance of 1.5 metres must be respected, between the tables or groups of tables, as well as at the bar, between clients or groups. The maximum occupancy per table or group of tables indoors will be ten people. In any case, all establishments must have the minimum separation distance properly displayed using signs.

– Measures for tourist accommodation

Cafeteria and restaurant services, must apply all the measures established for service (avoiding shared menus, cutlery, condiments), and, in addition, any buffet style service, must apply specific surveillance and organization measures (single use individual servings etc) that are appropriate. They must guarantee safety at all times, and that customers use a mask, comply with hand cleaning guidance, keep a minimum physical distance of 1.5 meters between non-cohabitants, and strictly respect the maximum capacity allowed.

– Specific measures for the development of guided tourist activities:

Guided tourist activities may be carried out for groups of up to a maximum of 55 people, – up to now it was limited to 25 people – establishing measures to ensure the minimum interpersonal safety distances during the activity and maintaining physical protection with the use of masks respecting regulations for closed indoor and open outdoor spaces.

– Alcohol consumption on public roads

A section has been added to the published rules which affects the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads, detailing fines in accordance with the provisions of Law 9/1998 , of July 22, on prevention, assistance and social integration in the field of drug addiction.