Commercial establishments and employers have the option to order the mandatory use of face shields amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said on Friday.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved Resolution 149 Thursday, ratifying the recommendation of its technical working group to allow businesses and employers to use their discretion in the wearing of face shields.
In a virtual presser, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the voluntary use of face shields is “without prejudice to employers still requiring their use for their employees or workers and/or customers in their respective premises”.
“Employers can require their employees to wear face shield in their work places and private establishments can require their costumers to wear face shields. That is within their discretion,” Nograles, also the IATF-EID spokesperson, said partly in Filipino.
On Monday, Duterte approved the IATF-EID’s recommendation to lift the mandatory use of face shields in areas placed under Alert Levels 1 to 3.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also issued a memorandum detailing the voluntary use of face shields in places with a relatively low Covid-19 alert level.
People residing in places under Alert Levels 1 to 3 have the option to use face shields on top of their face mask as an added protection against Covid-19, according to the memorandum.
For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to maintain or remove the wearing of face shields policy.
However, the use of face shields in community settings remains mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.
The latest face shield policy is without prejudice to the mandatory wearing of face shields in “medical and quarantine facility settings” and by “health care workers in healthcare settings.”
On Dec. 14, 2020, the IATF-EID issued Resolution 88, mandating all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public spaces to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
In June this year, Duterte ordered the public to wear face shields only in hospitals but later decided to keep the IATF-EID’s original policy following the presence of the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
He later announced in September this year that the use of face shields will be limited to the so-called 3Cs, or the closed and crowded spaces, and close contacts.