The gatherings at Christmas dinners and meals and the high rate of infections that sets a record daily have triggered the use of masks in recent weeks. Likewise, the imposition of outdoor masks has forced the manufacturers of these products to increase their work shifts and increase their working days to respond to the increase in demand that is occurring.
Francisco Sánchez, president of the Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Masks, Gowns and PPE (OESP), has affirmed to OKDIARIO that “the companies in the sector are overwhelmed. The large mask manufacturers have had to go from two to three shifts and increase working days to include Saturdays and Sundays. ” Despite having been living with the pandemic for more than a year and a half, there are still many unknowns and disparity of opinions regarding the mandatory use or not of masks for next year.
In the context, OESP predicts the continuity of use of this product in different areas of society during 2022 as a protection and security measure against Covid-19 and other diseases transmitted by air. The 17 companies associated with OESP have a production capacity of more than 160 million masks per month, which ensures a sufficient supply of these products nationwide. With that, They plan to increase production by 10% during 2022 and export 30% more sanitary products.
“People want to protect themselves on these special dates. Meetings with family and friends in closed spaces make people use the masks to feel more protected. This increase in demand does not respond so much to the obligation to wear masks – approved a few days ago -, but rather to the fact that people want to be safe, “says the president of OESP.
The government has approved this Thursday the obligation to wear the mask in outdoor spaces. The only exceptions will be individual sports practice or in natural spaces -such as a field or beach- as long as the minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained. The measure -which was already announced by Pedro Sanchez in the Conference of Presidents – has caused controversy and has been criticized by most parties for its uselessness. In fact, the reports of the Ministry of Health do not raise it and international organizations have doubted its effectiveness. The Executive itself did not see the need for a mask, for example, in August, when the occupation of the ICUs was higher than the current one.
The measure that is recovered ceased to be mandatory on June 26. Until now, the rule of June 2021 was in force, according to which, the use of the mask outdoors will be mandatory “in any outdoor space in which, due to the crowding of people, it is not possible to maintain a minimum distance of 1, 5 meters between them, except for groups of cohabitants ».
Currently, the hospital occupancy rate with Covid patients is 6.23%. In critical units, it reaches 15.77%. Figures even lower than those in August, when Sánchez did not seem to be overly concerned about the use of the mask. Thus, for example, on August 30, ICUs were at 18.04%, with 1,652 patients compared to 1,466 today.