Tourists face £90 fine by Spanish police if they don't wear a mask in public

Tourists to Spain’s Balearic Islands face a fine if they refuse to wear a mask in public – even if they are eating outside at a restaurant or a bar.

Holidaymakers face fines of £90 from the start of next week if they are caught on the street without their noses and mouths covered.

Everyone over the age of six has to comply, unless they suffer health problems or are playing sport.

Beaches and pools have been exempted, meaning Brits won’t be heading back home with tan lines on their faces.

On restaurant and bar terraces they will have to be worn until customers’ food or drink arrives.

Regional government spokeswoman Pilar Costa confirmed on Friday people would be given warnings initially before fines start to be handed out.

Officials declined to specify when the instructions to local police about how to handle those flouting the new rules would change.

Confirmation of the few days of grace came as the Spanish billionaire founder and chairman of Melia Hotels International joined the growing ranks of hoteliers expressing concern about the rule change.

The Balearic Islands, which include Majorca and Ibiza, are only the second Spanish region after Catalonia to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in virtually all public spaces, even when social distancing can be guaranteed.

Tourists face £90 fine by Spanish police if they don't wear a mask in public

Tourists face £90 fine by Spanish police if they don't wear a mask in public

Elsewhere in Spain, bar some areas which have suffered mini-lockdowns because of Covid-19 outbreaks, they have to be worn in closed indoor spaces but can be taken off outdoors on the street when social distancing of around five feet can be guaranteed.

The Confederation of Business Associations of the Balearic Islands (CAEB) has warned it could spell disaster for tourism in the region.

It said in a statement that putting in place “more restrictive measures than the ones in place for visitors in their places of origin discourage them from choosing our islands as a holiday destination and encourage them to choose rival destinations.”

Tourists face £90 fine by Spanish police if they don't wear a mask in public

It added: “The reactivation of the Balearic Islands economy, which is technically on the verge of recession, requires an effort by local authorities to make sure the protocols already in place to protect peoples’ health are exercised instead of eluding their responsibility behind prohibitions.”

Melia boss Gabriel Escarrer Jaume has said the measure should have been adopted only with the agreement of business leaders following a period of consultation.

Admitting bookings in the last couple of days had been affected by the rule change, he said tourists were opting for other Costa designations like the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol where the existing more lax national legislation governing the use of face masks was still in place.