Portugal scraps face masks in time for summer holidays

BRITISH holidaymakers in Portugal have been told they can ditch their face masks indoors.

It is expected to come into force at midnight on Friday.

Portugal has also said it is ending the requirement to fill in passenger locator forms for people travelling to the country.

The relaxation of the rules on face masks follows a similar move by Spain.

British tourists arriving in Spain have been able to ditch their face coverings for the first time in nearly two years in virtually all places indoors including shops and hotels since Wednesday.

In both Spain and Portugal, face coverings still have to be worn in hospitals and on public transport.

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The country’s Health Minister Marta Temido announced the move today after it was approved in a Cabinet meeting.

She said: "We're altering the framework because we understand the circumstances of the pandemic have changed.

"The protection offered by vaccinations and booster jabs is known to be very high, there are new drugs for serious illness that are becoming available, we have more knowledge about the disease and we have a favourable international situation.

"The summer months are also traditionally less favourable for the transmission of respiratory viruses."

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The use of face masks in both countries, where areas like the Costa Blanca in Spain and the Algarve in Portugal are hugely popular with UK tourists, were the most visible sign of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mandatory use of face coverings outdoors in Spain was only lifted in February after restrictions were reintroduced around Christmas.

Some experts have said they would have preferred face masks to remain obligatory in all public spaces indoors until after the summer.

There has been a mixed response to the lifting of the face covering rules indoors in Spain, with most tourists topping using them in hotels and shops but many locals continuing to use them in places like supermarkets despite not having to.

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