“This weekend there were a lot of young people who went without her on the Madrid commuter train,” says Agustín
They are specific cases, say those responsible for the service, although there are more and more, employees say
Health is still waiting for the proposal of the Alerts Report to end the mandatory nature of the face mask
It may be a matter of days before Spain says goodbye to the mandatory mask on public transport, although in practice there are those who have not worn it for a long time. It is the case of Elizabeth. At 33 years old, he is one of the few people who did not have a mask on Monday, early in the afternoon. in the Madrid subway car. The woman works as a shop assistant and studies advertising and marketing. She takes the subway every day, but she no longer wears a mask because she considers it “unnecessary”. “We are vaccinated and there are no longer people in the ICUs,” she explains to NIUS.
The latest reports from the Ministry of Health deny it. On Monday, 129 people had been admitted with covid to intensive care units in Spain, 22 of them in Madrid. In any case, Isabel is not the only one who travels without a mask or with it wrong. This Monday they were specific cases, but on Friday afternoon, on the same route, they were not isolated episodes, but couples and entire groups of young people. “On the commuter train this weekend there were a lot of young people without a mask,” says Agustín. A situation that is also witnessed in social networks.
@metro_madrid in car R7086, line 10, direction Puerta del Sur, half of the car is without a mask and some girls are vaping
— Gari Villa-Landa (@GariSokolova) September 26, 2022
Among those who break the norm, there are those who hide and put the mask under their chin, as a double chin, or those who, like Isabel, directly keep it inside their bags or backpacks in case the inspector comes. “Last week the security guy came in and asked me to put it on, I pretended I had forgotten, I put it on and there were no problemsbut the truth is that I think it is no longer necessary, ”he insists.
According to Metro de Madrid sources, cases like Isabel’s are “isolated episodes”. Although, according to the employees, there are more and more, “especially among the youngest”, they point out. People who go bare-faced inside the car while “passengers” are reminded by the public address system that their use is still mandatory. But “People don’t want trouble anymore,” says one of the security guards. Each one goes to his own. The reproaches and disapproving looks are over.
Vigilantes without authority to issue fines
The mask is recommended on the platform, but it is only mandatory inside the car. In addition, sources from Metro Madrid and the Ministry of Transport explained to NIUS, subway guards do not have the necessary authority to impose sanctions. They can’t do anything other than inform of the norm, ask to get off the train and, if the person refuses, call the police”.
“We are not policemen either,” say Carlos and Germán, taxi drivers in Madrid. A long time ago, “practically since the mask was removed in the rest of the interiors”, which taxi professionals have been confirming a relaxation of compliance with the norm. “More and more people are trying to travel without a mask.Whether or not he succeeds depends on each driver and how many hours they have slept”, they joke. Although neither is the thing to lose races, they warn. What is clear to them, they explain to NIUS, is that people do not consider the taxi as public transport.
There are more and more epidemiologists who are committed to ending the obligation. One of them is Quique Bassat, who claims “to be afraid” that the mandatory use of masks will continue and that people get used to not using them even if they are mandatory, because “if later the epidemiological situation makes their use necessary, you have lost that tool”. “If now you suspend the use of masks and in two months you have to put them back on, I think that following the norm would be better”, assures Bassat.
In any case, it is the experts from the Alerts Report, the heads of the epidemiology service of the autonomous communities, who have to take the first step, because, despite the fact that there are more and more voices asking for it, Health assures that it will not regulate the end of the mandatory nature of the mask until the Presentation proposes it. Experts who continue to debate the matter without, yet, a clear conclusion.