Breathe easy, fam!
After 14 months, the government has finally ceased the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Levels 1, 2, and 3, which currently includes Metro Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday, November 15.
Per the memorandum submitted by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to the COVID-19 inter-agency task force (IATF), wearing face shields will now be “voluntary” in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3. However, for areas under Alert Level 4 – which, until November 30, only includes the province of Catanduanes – “local government units (LGUs) and private establishments are given discretion to mandate the use of face shields.”
For areas under Alert Level 5 – the highest classification in the alert level system – and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings is still mandatory.
A couple of weeks into November, several cities such as Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Muntinlupa, and Manila have decided to ditch the mandatory use of face shields following President Duterte previous announcement that face shields would no longer be required in outdoor settings, save for inside hospitals and medical facilities.
The mandatory use of face shields came into effect last September 2020 when the IATF issued Resolution No. 68, series of 2020, which required citizens to wear both a face shield atop their face mask in all indoor and outdoor settings. This is despite the WHO’s pronouncements that face shields are “not as effective at protecting you or the people around you from respiratory droplets.”
Art Daniella Sison