STA, 19 September 2020 - Slovenia has made face masks mandatory outdoors as of Saturday in cases when it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres.
The government issued the new decree on Friday evening with the addendum that it would made a biweekly assessment of whether the measure is still necessary.
The decision comes after a sharp spike in new infections, with triple-digit increases in new cases for most of this week.
In indoor public places, masks have been mandatory since the first wave of the epidemic in spring. That part of the rule has now been tightened, including in schools, where students and teachers have so far been required to wear masks only in common areas.
Under the decree, students up to grade 6 of primary school are not required to wear masks in the classroom, while teachers have to wear them only if they cannot maintain a 2-metre physical distance from students in class.
From grade 7, both students and teachers must wear masks at all times unless they can maintain a 1.5-metre physical distance. In many classrooms, maintaining a physical distance is not possible.
The original plan involved making masks mandatory for kindergarten teachers as well, but strong backlash from the public appears to have convinced the government to backtrack.
Even the new mask rule in schools appears likely to provoke protests, judging by reactions by teacher and parent association to the government's preliminary announcement.
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