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Sunday, August 01, 2021
MANILA

Where to wear face shields

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THE Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, sought to clear the confusion generated by the statement of one of its officials by listing the settings that require wearing of face shields aside from face masks.

Based on Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-0001, face shields are required in the following settings as protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission:

  • Enclosed public spaces
  • Schools
  • Workplaces
  • Commercial establishment such as, but not limited to, food establishments, malls and public markets
  • Public transport and terminals
  • Places of worship
  • Other public spaces wherein one-meter physical distancing is not possible
  • Gatherings of more than 10 persons at the same venue at the same time


“This has always been the standing policy,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

Resolution No. 88 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allows local government units to implement stricter measures within their jurisdiction.

In April 2021, DOH issued Memorandum 2020-0534 that exempts active transport users like cyclists from the face shield requirement.

Not required to use face shields are “individuals engaged in strenuous activities/work, fine workmanship, operation of transportation vehicles and active transport.”

DOH was asked to clarify the statement of Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega during the Laging Handa briefing Wednesday that removing the face shields while outdoors is allowed.

“‘Yung face shields, kakailanganin naman talaga ‘yan ‘pag nasa indoor ka, nasa mall ka, or ‘pag may interaction ka face to face inside,” Vega said.

“Pero ‘pag nasa outside naman, kasi alam naman natin ang risk of transmission is very low, at lalong-lalo na kapag naglalakad ka lang sa kalye o kaya nagtatrabaho ka, kasi makaka-affect ‘yung moist nito so puwede niyo tanggalin ‘yan,” he added.

DOH said Vega had cited some of the settings that require face shields.

Based on the directives issued by the government, face shields are required in most public spaces, especially when there is a crowd and physical distancing is not possible.

Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso earlier urged the national government to consider lifting the face shield requirement, except in hospitals.

Lawmakers seconded Domagoso’s appeal, saying the policy is anti-poor.

In response, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is not yet the right time to remove the policy because the number of daily Covid-19 cases remain high.

The proper wearing of face shields and face masks is among the minimum public health standards (MPHS) aimed at minimizing Covid-19 transmission. Enforcement, however, has been very poor as most people wear their face shields on top of their heads like headbands.

In early June, the DOH cited a study by Bhaskar and Arun (2020) among community health workers in India, which shows that, after the introduction of face shields to 50 of the health workers who counseled 118,428 persons in May 2020, none of the healthcare workers were infected with Covid-19.

DOH also cited the Living Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health for Covid-19 as of May 2021, which state that evidence suggest the use of face mask plus protective eyewear such as face shield or goggles provide protection in areas with sustained community transmission of the virus. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo)

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