President Duterte has approved recommendations to ease the country’s face shield policy and keep the equipment mandatory only in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), coronavirus disease (COVID-19) alert level 5, and granular lockdown.
Based on a copy of a memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and obtained by the Manila Bulletin, President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to limit the use of face shields effective Nov. 15.
Medialdea subsequently confirmed the authenticity of the document to Malacañang reporters.
The following guidelines on the use of face shields are to take effect immediately:
- For areas under alert level 5 and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory
- For areas under alert level 4, local government units (LGUs) and private establishments are given the discretion to mandate the use of face shields
- For areas under alert levels 3, 2, and 1, the use of face shields shall be voluntary
Meanwhile, as the government is yet to fully implement the Alert Levels System (ALS) nationwide, local government unit (LGUs) that are not yet under the new pandemic response system shall have the discretion to mandate the use of face shields except in areas under ECQ and those under granular lockdown where it shall remain mandatory.
In addition, regardless of community quarantine classifications, the use of face shields will remain mandatory in medical and quarantine facility settings.
Medical workers are also still required to use face shields in healthcare settings.
Last June, President Duterte said he preferred that people only be required to wear face shields in hospitals. However, the government’s pandemic task force was opposed to easing the rules on wearing face shields and appealed that the rule be kept, especially indoors.
After the Department of Health (DOH) reported that 17 individuals were infected by the COVID-19 Delta variant on June 21, Duterte decided to make the wearing of face shields mandatory in both indoors and outdoors again.
In September, Duterte finally lifted the requirement to use face shields outdoors, except in closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.
Duterte is expected to announce the new face shield guidelines in his “Talk to the People” public briefing Monday night, Nov. 15.