Make sure you pack a wad of face masks next time you visit Ibiza or Mallorca. New rules, recently put in place, require tourists to wear a face mask from the moment you leave your hotel bedroom.

Up to now, the measure was only obligatory in closed public places or outdoors where social distancing of at least five feet is hard to do. 

The powers that oversee the Balearic islands are tightening the rules on the heals of measures put in place by Catalonia – a region which includes Barcelona and the Costa Brava – making them obligatory. The region stopped short of insisting sunbathers wear them as they catch their rays whilst laying on their spot on the sand.

They have not specified sunbathing on beaches, but if you leave the beach to go to the bar, the face mask must be worn. Also, anyone going on an early morning ramble on a lonesome beach will be expected to still wear their mask. Anyone flouting the new face mask rule will face a fine of €100 (£90).

The rules do not apply people playing sports, to children or to families who hire a car will be able to travel together without wearing a mask.

Catalonia’s Minister for Health, Alba Vergés said

“The general rule is that everyone will leave their house with their face mask on, whether they are going to the beach or to the office.  “When the activity is not compatible with wearing a face mask, it may be removed, but safely.”

The rules apply to residents and visitors alike in popular tourist destinations such as Barcelona, Majorca, Ibiza and San Sebastian. 

Police have been advised to give British holidaymakers some slack as many will be unaware of the rules. A warning will be given but if that is flouted they will be fined.

The rule changes in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands were made after mini-lockdowns caused by new Covid-19 outbreaks had to be invoked in  La Marina north of Lugo in Galicia, and the Segria region of Lleida province near Barcelona.