Will I have to wear a face mask on holiday?

·2-min read
Will your summer holiday destination require you to wear a face mask? (Getty Images)
Will your summer holiday destination require you to wear a face mask? (Getty Images)

International leisure travel is set to resume in England from 17 May under a traffic light system that classifies countries as red, amber or green based on their level of risk in relation to Covid-19.

On Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the long awaited “green list” of destinations from where returning travellers need not quarantine upon arrival back into the UK.

Only 12 places made the cut, including Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel.

The list will be reviewed every three weeks, with destinations assigned a colour based on their case numbers, vaccination rates, and prevalence of any virus variants of concern.

If you are planning a trip away this summer, what rules exist on the wearing of face masks? Here’s everything you need to know.

Will I need to wear a face mask on holiday?

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Different rules and restrictions around Covid-19, including mask wearing, apply in different destinations, including on a local and regional basis.

We’ve looked at the major four tourist destinations on the current government green list, but it’s worth checking advice offered locally and by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) before you travel as restrictions and rules are subject to regular changes.

Portugal

Face masks must be worn in all enclosed spaces, and outdoors where social distancing of two metres cannot be maintained.

Face masks are also mandatory on public transport.

At the beginning of May, Prime Minister António Costa said mask-wearing is likely to remain compulsory until the end of summer, when Portugal will, hopefully, achieve herd immunity, according to local media.

Gibraltar

The requirement for face masks to be worn outdoors was lifted in Gibraltar at the end of March.

Face masks must be worn in shops and on public transport, but are not required in bars, restaurants or other outdoor spaces.

Iceland

The mandatory use of face masks in Iceland applies on public transport, within indoor spaces and where it is not possible to maintain social distancing of two metres.

Those who have already been infected with Covid-19 and completed isolation, plus children born after 2005 or later, are not required to wear a face mask, however.

Israel

In mid-April, Israeli health minister Yuli Edelstein announced that the wearing of face masks outside was not longer required thanks to the country’s successful vaccination programme.

“The masks are intended to protect us from the coronavirus,” he said. “After professionals decided this was no longer required in open spaces, I decided to enable taking them off.”

Face masks are still mandatory within indoor spaces, such as supermarkets, unless eating or drinking.

How about air travel?

All major airlines require passengers to wear face masks during their flight and whilst in the airport terminal.

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