DOH: Wearing face shield in specified areas ‘has always been the policy’
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) clarified on Wednesday that the wearing of face shields only in specific settings “has always been the standing policy” of the agency.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made this remark after Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said that face shields may not be worn when outdoors as the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in such a setting is low.
“This has always been the standing policy. At the minimum, face shields are required to be worn in the following settings, as indicated in the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 2021-0001 on the Clarificatory Guidelines on the Mandatory Use of Face Shields Outside of Residence for COVID-19 Mitigation,” Vergeire said in a statement.
She enumerated the following settings where face shields should be worn, based on the JMC issued in January:
- enclosed public spaces
- commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls, and public markets
- public transport and terminals
- places of worship
- other public spaces wherein 1-meter physical distancing is not possible and there is a gathering of more than 10 people at the same venue at the same time
“Per the cited JMC, wearing of face shields is mandatory in specific settings and situations. Some of these settings were cited by Usec. Vega as examples. Some settings won’t require it—like for active transport users,” Vergeire added.
However, she noted that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 88 and the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines as of May allow local government units to implement stricter health measures within their jurisdictions, in accordance with existing laws and guidelines of the national government.
In December last year, the IATF issued Resolution No. 88 amending Section 8 of the said omnibus guidelines to require the public to wear face shields on top of face masks “whenever they go out of their residences.”
Before this resolution, the government only required the wearing of face shields in the workplace, public transportation, or when entering enclosed commercial establishments such as malls.
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