Indeed, unlike in the UK and almost everywhere else I have been, even though they are no longer compulsory on the streets, or in shops and restaurants, many German citizens still actively choose their FFPs over them. fresh air, and many companies continue to impose them on their staff. Nowhere was this more acute than at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where I saw a performance of Macbeth in which some of the non-singing performers wore masks on stage, as did the musicians in the pit orchestra (except for the brass and woodwind sections).

In Ireland, on the other hand, where I traveled this weekend from Galway to Dublin, it was as if the pandemic had never happened. But for a handful of (probably German) tourists, there was no mask to see. And I was there for my late grandmother’s memorial, keep in mind, mingling with retirees until I was over 90. My grandmother – who died last year of old age at 87, always flouted Covid rules and only wore a mask as a hammock chin – would have been proud.

I shouldn’t mind seeing people wearing them (every man for himself; live and let live), but surely it’s time to move on. I see masks as moralizing relics from a time when the world went temporarily mad, and the travel industry was dragged along with it; costing millions of jobs, tearing countless families apart and destroying economies from rich to poor countries. So thank goodness so many of us have given up on them, and the laggards who haven’t (the Germans, Italians, and Thais, as we’ll see below) will follow in time.

Here’s what the mask situation looks like in a handful of key destinations this summer, as locals reported:


Eager to continue the long-awaited tourist season, most Greek business owners cannot wait until June 1 when, with the exception of public transport and hospitals, wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory. “It will make a big difference – our guests don’t want to worry about that when they are on vacation,” says Georgios Kaloutsakis, owner of Abaton Island, a luxury resort in Crete. With a third of the population still unvaccinated, however, some Greeks fear giving up masks: “We should all wear them all the time – even on the beach,” says Roula Zervakis, a bar owner from Sitia, whose 80 year old woman father refuses to get vaccinated.

Heidi Fuller Love


In Spain, masks are still compulsory in hospitals, medical centers and pharmacies, as well as on public transport. Here in Seville, almost everyone follows these rules. In public places like supermarkets, shops and cinemas, around half of people are wearing masks, and a few are still wearing them outside on the streets – largely, but not exclusively, older people. Some servers in bars and restaurants wear masks. As a tourist, however, you will not be judged anyway.

Fiona Flores Watson


Compulsory mask-wearing has been abolished in Italy in almost all places, but there are times you would never guess. Until June 15, FFP2 masks remain compulsory on all public transport (including planes serving Italy), for indoor concerts, films, sports and other public events, as well as in hospitals and clinics. Elsewhere the requirement has been scrapped, but in most shops and supermarkets the majority of customers will likely be wearing face coverings. Even outdoors, people will always have a mask somewhere around them ready to put on when there are too many people about to feel safe.

Anne Hanley


Thailand has long had some of the strictest mask laws in the world, which are mandatory in public, even while jogging in a park or sunbathing on a deserted beach. Thais strictly adhered, until last week when it was noticed in Bangkok that more people were going maskless or removing their masks, if only during exercise.

This is likely a reaction to the Thai government’s recent announcement that, from mid-June, masks will likely no longer be required outdoors. It would be a welcome respite in a country where the weather is extremely hot and humid, which makes it very unpleasant to be masked outside.

Ronan O’Connell


In Australia, the appetite for face masks has declined sharply, but not entirely disappeared. The rules vary from state to state. In South Australia, where I live, masks are still mandatory in some places, such as airports, medical facilities, etc., and compliance levels are high. But I was in a pharmacy the other day, and it wasn’t until I paid for what I wanted that the helpful assistant reminded me that I really needed to be masked. In stores and outdoors, a few people still wear masks by personal choice. It is suspected that they are the ones who remain completely frightened by the still high fearmongering of the media here.

Robert Elliot


The rules vary from state to state (and even then they can vary between two cities in the same state), but mask mandates have been largely relaxed or removed across the country. That said, in many blue states, including California and New York, a number of people continue to wear masks indoors and outdoors, especially in more urban areas. Some businesses, such as cinemas and theaters, also continue to require customers to wear masks when not eating or drinking, and compliance rates are high.

Lizzie Frainier