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‘Standing policy’: DOH maintains use of face shield in certain spaces

'Standing policy': DOH maintains use of face shield in certain spaces

MANILA, Philippines — The health department on Wednesday sought to clarify the remarks of treatment czar Leopoldo Vega that face shields are not required outdoors, saying this has been the government’s “standing policy.”

Authorities have faced calls to drop its order on using face shields on top of face masks, but they have insisted that it provides additional protection against COVID-19.

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“This has always been the standing policy,” said Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire in a statement, citing a Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-0001 that said face shields are to be worn only in “specific settings and situations.” 

Vega had told a Laging Handa briefing earlier today that individuals can opt to remove their face shields when outside, especially if it would obstruct the vision of those wearing it. 

Per the DOH, face shields are required when in the following areas: 

  • enclosed public spaces
  • schools
  • workplaces
  • commercial establishments such as, but not limited to, food establishments, malls, and public markets
  • public transport and terminals
  • places of worship
  • other public spaces wherein 1 meter physical distancing is not possible and if there is a gathering of more than 10 people at the same venue and time

Still, Vergeire added, that Resolution 88 of the pandemic task force and its omnibus guidelines for implementing the community quarantine in the country permit local governments to roll out stricter health measures.

Senators yesterday ordered the DOH to submit a list of countries mandating the use of face shields. Senate President Vicente Sotto III told Health chief Francisco Duque III to study scrapping their policy as soon as possible.

In the same hearing, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the non-wearing of face shields should carry no penalty in LGUs’ ordinances. Such should only be imposed when not wearing face masks, violating social distancing, as well as on mass gatherings, he added.

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