Further to my previously published guide to mask free destinations , a number of countries have joined the freeface bandwagon and abandoned the face covering dogma of the covid years.
Costa Rica 🇨🇷
The tropical paradise of Costa Rica is now fully unrestricted. There is no vaccination or test required for entry and tourists are no longer forced to buy overpriced health insurance to cover quarantine expenses.
Furthermore, mask wearing is now entirely optional in all settings.
Latvia has now joined its Baltic neighbour in abolishing the mask mandate for public transport, meaning that all everyday settings are now mask free.
Following months of dragging its feet, Austria has suspended the mask mandate for shops and public transport, meaning that there are now no mask requirements in everyday life.
This, however, comes with a few caveats.
FFP2 masks (bird beaks) are still required in medical settings, which barring incidents most tourists will not need to access.
The Austrian government has backtracked a number of times on promised relaxations of the mask mandate and has explicitly stated that the present relaxation is only for a period of three months. Therefore, I have to advise treating this announcement with a modicum of scepticism. However, as I stated in my Lake Constance review, the new freeface culture has been almost universally embraced. I am therefore hopeful that the mask mandate will not be politically expedient to reimpose later.
I was unsure whether to include Italy in this list, as the mandate is still officially in force, but is very widely expected to lapse on June 15.
After this date, the mask mandate for public transport and all businesses will expire, meaning tourists can go about their daily lives unmuzzled.
Italy is perhaps the most surprising addition to this list, as it has been an avid bastion of mask zealotry for the last two years.
I very much hope I don’t have to publish a retraction of this section after a hurried U-turn in the next 48 hours.
EDIT: In the few days since this article was published, the Italian government has backtracked and extended the mask mandate for public transport until September 30.