Citing danger, Pasig exempts bikers from wearing face shields
In this photo released on June 2, 2020, cyclist group Bikers United Marshalls set up an improvised bicycle lane along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
Bikers United Marshalls Facebook page

Citing danger, Pasig exempts bikers from wearing face shields

(Philstar.com) - December 19, 2020 - 3:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Pasig City is exempting bikers from the national government’s requirement for all people outside of their residences to wear face shields, saying that donning one while biking is dangerous.

“Evidence shows and consultation among bikers reveals that biking while wearing a face shield is dangerous,” Pasig Transport said in a post on Facebook. “Wearing a face shield obstructs view and makes breathing difficult.”

Pasig Transport added that biking naturally isolates riders from other commuters.

Bikers are exempted from wearing face shield while biking in Pasig.  Evidence shows and consultation among bikers reveals that biking while wearing a face shield is dangerous.

Posted by Pasig Transport on Friday, December 18, 2020

INTERAKSYON: ‘Serious risks’: Cycling group appeals for government to reconsider face shield policy

This is not the first time that Pasig City went against policies implemented by the national government during the span of the pandemic.

At the height of the coronavirus lockdown in March, when the government suspended all forms of public transportation, Pasig City continued to allow the operation of tricycles so that essential workers can be ferried to their workplaces — a move that was frowned upon by the interior department.

This led to the National Bureau of Investigation launching a probe against Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto who they asked to explain why he should not be charged under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which gave President Rodrigo Duterte sweeping emergency powers.

Required, but what does science say?

The task force on the government’s coronavirus response has required people to wear full face shields on top of their masks whenever they go outside in anticipation of a spike in COVID-19 cases during the holidays.

Previously, wearing plastic shields was only required in enclosed spaces such as malls and public transportation.

But the Department of Health said shortly after the new policy was issued that the use of face shields is not advisable if it would lead to visibility problems.

“We also do not recommend it for some workers who may be put at risk. The reflection from face shields may affect the eyesight,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.

Vergeire said that the department is also not recommending the use of face shields for individuals with certain health conditions that make breathing for them difficult.

Still, PLt. Gen. Cesar Binag, who heads the government’s COVID-19 task force on law enforcement, said bikers and joggers are not exempted from the rule.

Several countries that have managed to have their outbreaks under control did not require the use of face shields. The virus is transmitted through droplets that can be inhaled from an infected person’s cough or sneeze or picked up with one touch. 

INTERAKSYON: Face shields mandated in Philippines: Do they really protect vs SARS-CoV-2?

A study published in the journal Physics of Fluids found that although face shields block the initial forward motion of cough or sneeze, the expelled droplets can move around the visor “with relative ease and spread out over a large area.”

“Our observations suggest that to minimize the community spread of COVID-19, it may be preferable to use high quality cloth or surgical masks that are of a plain design, instead of face shields and masks equipped with exhale valves,” the study of scientists from Florida Atlantic University read.

But the DOH stressed the plastic shields would provide people an additional layer of protection against the virus.

“What we are recommending is for people to use face shields together with face masks and do physical distancing, especially when you’re in public places because this will give you protection that you need so we don’t get infected with the virus,” Vergeire said.

— Xave Gregorio with a report from Gaea Katreena Cabico

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