Monday 2 October 2023

Dozens of countries have already eliminated the use of the mask

In Costa Rica, something so simple can get complicated really, really quick

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RICO’s DIGEST – The decision of the new Government to eliminate the use of masks has generated a wide debate at the local level that, however, has already been overcome by most countries.

Specialists indicate that it is key that the population maintain measures such as the use of a mask at times when they cannot keep their distance.(Rafael Pacheco)

Several countries of the American continent and Europe have already eliminated the measure of the use of the mask months.

The process started in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of 2021. From there, the other provinces did the same.

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For the start of this year, Brazil opted for elimination and Mexico followed suit.

In March, Panama did away with the mask, and in recent weeks so did Colombia and Ecuador.

One of the countries with the most forceful measure was Uruguay, which lifted the state of emergency in April lifted.

On this American Airlines flight from Charlotte to New York City, most passengers still wear masks. (Photo by Eleonore SENS / AFP)

The U.S.

Although it was one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, the United States had already relaxed the use of masks, ruling out their mandatory use in all states.

Although there is a recommendation to use it in closed spaces, face masks were even ruled out for use on planes.

On April 19, the Biden administration announced that it would not enforce the mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the 14-month directive was illegal.

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In the last two months, the use order has been expiring in the different localities without being renewed.


Europe, or the “Old Continent” as it is sometimes referred to in Costa Rica, has eliminated the use of the mask.

The United Kingdom was the first.

France lifted a ban on wearing face masks in public places in March, although they are still required on public transport, in transportation hubs like train stations, and in medical establishments.

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Portugal and Spain share similar rules to France.

Greece and Italy will continue to ask for indoor public spaces until June.

In Austria, FFP2 masks are a requirement in all supermarkets, for example, The Telegraph reports, and in many regions of Germany they are mandatory in shops and on public transport.

Spain remained one of the great countries with the mask, which was finally eliminated at the end of April

These countries are completely mask-free: Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

Costa Rica says goodbye to the mandatory mask

Although at the beginning of the pandemic Costa Ricans were reluctant to wear masks, the previous government mandated their use in closed spaces, which remained in force until last Sunday, May 8, when the new president, Rodrigo Chaves, decreed the voluntary use of the mask.

President Rodrigo Chaves arriving on Monday for his first day at Casa Presidencial.

But, as with anything in Costa Rica, something so simple can get complicated really, really quick, the new President has to weather a storm of criticism and had to delay the publication of the decree, that would maintain the compulsory use of the mask only for the first line of health workers, to satisfy the medical community.

At the heart of the delay is the challenge of powers, constitutionalists declaring that the power to mandatory use of the masks rests with the Comisión de Vacunación y Epidemiología (CNVE) and out of reach of presidential powers.

Read more: Publication of decrees on vaccination and masks delayed

“We are opening the possibility that whoever does not want to wear a mask, does not wear it,” President Rodrigo Chaves stated.

However, that has to wait a bit more, while the different parts of the government play out their political game.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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