Public transport passengers required to wear face shields starting August 15

All passengers in areas where public transportation is allowed will be required to wear face shields starting Aug. 15.

The Department of Transportation has issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-014 directing all transportation sectors to implement a “No Face Shield, No Ride” policy.

Passengers travel on a jeepney with seat dividers to ensure social distancing in Manila on July 6, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Passengers were likewise urged to practice minimum health standards such as washing of hands and physical distancing.

Public transportation is only allowed in areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said this initiative will be implemented along with their existing health and safety protocols to further reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in public transport facilities.

“Sa mga kababayan natin, huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield (To our countrymen, let us not think that the requirement to wear a face shield is an additional expense or inconvenience). Let us remember that no amount of protection is too much when it comes to health and safety, especially that we are battling an invisible enemy," Tugade said in a statement.

"What we are addressing is not a transport issue but rather a health issue. Kaya nga hinihingi ko ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa (That is why I am asking everyone to cooperate)," he added.

The DOTr chief said the mandatory wearing of face shield will be implemented in all public transportation including in the aviation and airports, railways, road, as well as the maritime sector.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) had earlier said that it is considering  requiring the use of face shields in public places on top of the mandatory wearing of face masks, citing studies that the shield could block potential transmission of COVID-19 by up to 99 percent.  

This was echoed by DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr., who clarified that face shields should be used sufficiently to cover the nose and mouth.

"Mayroon po kasing mga tinatawag na visor, goggles, o 'yong iba pang (There are so-called visors, goggles, or other) protective eyewear that only encloses the eye area. We advise that our passengers use the ones that cover the whole face. It's actually meant as a redundancy of the protection of the face mask," Tuazon added.

 The DOTr assured that stringent preventive measures are still in effect to contain the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities which include the mandatory wearing of face mask, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and handwashing or hand sanitizing. Talking and using mobile phones are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation, the department added.