Marcos allows voluntary use of face mask in outdoor settings
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has signed Executive Order No. 3, allowing the voluntary use of face mask in outdoor settings.
This was announced on Monday by Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
"Naglabas po tayo (We issued) today ng Executive Order No. 3, allowing voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings and reiterating the continued implementation of minimum public health standards during the state of public health emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic," she said at a press briefing.
"Ito na po 'yung ina-announce ng DOH na voluntary wearing of face masks outdoors, in non-crowded places, provided... kung kayo ay immunocompromised, seniors or hindi kumpleto ang bakuna, kailangan pa rin po mag-face mask or strongly encouraged ang face masks," Cruz-Angeles added.
(This is what the DOH is announcing, the voluntary wearing of face masks outdoors, in non-crowded places. If you are immunocompromised, seniors or not yet fully vaccinated, you still need to wear face mask, or the use of face mask is strongly encouraged.)
EO No. 3 states that "the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation is hereby allowed; provided that not fully vaccinated individuals, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to wear their masks and physical distancing will be observed at all times."
The order added that face masks should still be worn "in indoor, private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea, and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained."
Cruz-Angeles said other minimum public health standards, which aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country, shall still be observed with the principles of shared accountability, evidence-based decision making, socio-economic equity and rights-based approach.
According to the Palace official, the Department of Health has been ordered to update the minimum public health standards guidelines amid the issuance of EO No. 3.
Cruz-Angeles also said the order is effective immediately.
"This order shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the OG (Official Gazette) or newspaper of general circulations," she said.
Asked what made the President decide on the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, Cruz-Angeles mentioned that the country is already 6% away from the wall of immunity.
"He had imposed a condition and one of that is the establishment of the wall of immunity since we are 6% away from that then it's time. So we're doing this in stages, in phases so that we can have feedback on whether or not these new policies are working and how to make them more efficient," she said.
"Hopefully, by the end of the year, we might be able to have a... to be voluntarily mask indoors as well," Cruz-Angeles said.
Meanwhile, Cruz-Angeles said the local government units would play a key role in the said executive order, especially on the standards of spaces as well as the conditions such as determining what area could be deemed as having "good ventilation."
"Normally things like these will be determined by the local government kasi sila po ang enforcement in these instances," Cruz-Angeles said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces by year-end amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Malacañang said last Wednesday. —KG, GMA News