The Department of Transportation said Tuesday that wearing of face shields in all public transportation in areas under Alert Level 1, 2, and 3 would no longer be mandatory, ending a regulation that spanned 15 months.
DoTr Undersecretary for Administrative Services Artemio Tuazon Jr. said the agency would immediately enforce the protocols on the use of face shields.
"In line with the directive issued by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), which was also approved by the Palace, wearing of face shields in areas, where Alerts Level 1, 2 and 3 are in place, is no longer mandatory. It will be voluntary," Tuazon said.
For areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns, meanwhile, theuse of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory.
For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given discretion to mandate the use of face shields; and
For areas under Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1, the use of face shields shall be voluntary, as the Palace declared on Monday night during President Rodrigo Duterte’s televised Talk to the People.
All passengers in any mode of public transportation were required to wear face shields, aside from face masks, effective August 15, 2020.Commercial establishments were asked to do the same for their customers and workers.
Meanwhile, despite the lifting of the mandatory use of face shields, stringent preventive measures remain in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities.
These include the mandatory wearing of face masks, strict enforcementof the social distancing measure, and frequent sanitation. Talking and eating are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation.
Malacanang said private establishments should follow the national government's policy of making the use of face shields voluntary in areas under Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles made the announcement after President Duterte approved the IATF recommendation on voluntary face shield use in Alert Level 1, 2 and 3 areas.
"Private establishments would have to follow the protocols. When it is voluntary, it means it is the personal choice of the person," Nograles said.
Medical professionals however have been divided as to whether the use of face shields is beneficial to the people.
Metro Manila, the center of the country's economy, is under Alert Level 2 until November 30. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III urged local government units and establishments classified under Alert Level 4 to require the use of face shields in closed spaces, crowded areas, and close contact settings or also called “3Cs.”
“Under Alert Level 4, the decision to use face shields is up to the local government units and the private companies,” Duque said during an interview with Super Radyo dzBB.
“We would ask them to require their clients to use face shields in the 3Cs areas for an extra layer of protection,” said Duque.
Duque previously expressed his preference for a risk-based use of face shields, where it will only be voluntary in areas under Alert Level 2 and mandatory in areas under higher alert levels.