Palace: Businesses may still require face shields in their premises

Palace: Businesses may still require face shields in their premises
“As far as DOH is concerned, whatever we were able to deliver to all of our healthcare workers are in good condition,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a public briefing.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — The use of face shields in areas under low alert levels may still be required by commercial establishments within their premises, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said Friday.

This comes just four days after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the task force's recommendation to ease face shield requirements in areas under Alert Levels 3, 2, and 1. 

"With regard to the voluntary use of face shields for areas under Alert Level 3 to 1, it is hereby clarified that the same is without prejudice to employers still requiring their use for their employees/workers and/or customers in their respective premises," a resolution from the task force presented by Nograles to media reads. 

However, with the so-called clarification in effect, face shields rules in areas under Alert Levels 1-3 now resemble those in areas under Alert Level 4 where local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to mandate their use.

Face shields are still mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5, per a memo issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. 

"We had to clarify with the [task force]...because there are two trains of thought, is [wearing face shields] user discretion or the discretion of the establishment?" Nograles, who said he was recently appointed as pandemic task force spokesman, relayed partially in Filipino. 

"When it comes to customers, it is the discretion of the establishment." 

The government's face shield policy has long been the subject of scrutiny and criticism over its seeming lack of scientific basis. The health department insists, however, that the policy is guided by science and expert medical opinion. 

Several local government units have preempted the national government, doing away with face shield requirements outside of hospitals and clinics as early as last week.

The City of Manila's diversion from national policy, in particular, sparked debate between the Palace and LGUs over who has the final say on public health measures. 


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