On June 16, 2021, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said in a media briefing that face shields may be removed in outdoor settings. It shouldn’t be a requirement for those working or walking outdoors since there is a low risk of transmission in open spaces. Senate President Tito Sotto also tweeted that the President agreed face shields should only be used in hospitals. So can we finally leave the house with only our masks on?
Outdoor Activity Should be Exempt
Vega said construction works, couriers, and those in similar fields can be exempted from the mandatory face shield policy to avoid accidents. Use of face shields should, however, still be used in indoor settings such as malls or during face-to-face interactions. He adds that it could even affect outdoor activity since face shields can trap moisture.
Only for Hospital Use
President Rodrigo Duterte echoes the sentiment that face shields should only be used in hospitals. He mentioned this on the account that the Philippines is the only country in the world requiring face shields outdoors. During a recent Senate hearing, he prompted the senators who were present to remove theirs, as relayed by Sotto in a tweet.
Presidential Policy on Face Shields
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirms that the President did say the wearing of face shield should only be in hospitals. “All I’m confirming is the President said that and of course what the President said becomes a presidential policy,” he said in an online press brief on Thursday, June 17. While waiting for Duterte’s decision on the IATF-EID appeal, face shields will still be mandatory.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III recommends continuing the implementation of the face shield policy until more people get vaccinated. Roque clarified that the existing policy regarding face shields remains in effect. Netizens request face shields become optional and only require it in certain areas like medical facilities and crowded places.