By FRANCES D’EMILIO
ROME (AP) — Italy, Spain and other European countries are reinstating or stiffening mask mandates as their hospitals struggle with mounting numbers of COVID-19 patients. Other nations like the Netherlands are considering introducing masking rules. The use of more protective FFP2 masks in Italy is also seen as a way to keep businesses running and public services provided. The Italian government says vaccinated people who had contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus can avoid quarantine as long as they wear a FFP2 mask when in public for 10 days. These strategies sharply contrast with those of Britain whose government has emphasized vaccination and where mask-wearing dropped off markedly last year.