Makati City requires wearing face masks in public places

Rappler.com
Makati City requires wearing face masks in public places
Establishments and transport services may refuse anyone not wearing face masks, according to the city ordinance

MANILA, Philippines – The Makati City government now requires everyone to wear face masks when in public places and common areas as the country grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Mayor Abby Binay said on Monday, April 13, that the city council has passed City Ordinance No. 2020-089 requiring people to wear face masks or other protective gear when in public places.

The ordinance said that residents and employees of Makati will have to wear face masks or other similar protective gear outside their homes while the city is “under a state of public health emergency or other similar declarations.”

Wearing of face masks and other similar protective gear are also mandatory in common areas of condominiums, hotels, motels, apartments, apartelles and the like; establishments; and transport services.

Establishments and transport services may refuse anyone not wearing face masks.

The ordinance said that the following are considered protective equipment: face shields; ear-loop masks; cloth masks; handkerchiefs; scarfs; indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks; and other similar covers that could protect the wearer and prevent the spread of the disease.

Penalties for violators are as follows: first offense: P1,000 fine; 2nd offense: P3,000 fine; and 3rd and succeeding offenses: P5,000 fine and/or a maximum of six months imprisonment upon the discretion of the court.

Earlier this month, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that Luzon residents will now be required to wear face masks or improvised face shields when leaving their homes to work or buy essential goods.

Nograles, spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the coronavirus pandemic, said that local government units (LGUs) were also directed to issue the necessary corresponding orders requiring the use of face masks, along with penalties for violations of the measure that is meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Other LGUs have since issued their ordinances, imposing steep fines for violators. 

As of Sunday, April 5, Makati City, the country’s financial center, has 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. (READ: Where are the coronavirus cases in Metro Manila?)

Binay said that the city council also passed City Ordinance No. 2020-088, or “The Mandatory Quarantine Ordinance of the City of Makati”.

It requires anyone infected or suspected to have an infectious or communicable disease to be placed under mandatory quarantine for a period of 7 days or longer as determined by the guidelines and protocols issued by the Department of Health (DOH), Makati Health Department (MHD) or other governing bodies. Current DOH protocols for COVID-19 prescribe a 14-day quarantine.

Any person who has also been in contact with an infected person, person under investigation or person under monitoring, will be placed under mandatory home quarantine for seven days or longer, based on DOH guidelines, or will be quarantined in places or institutions designated as quarantine areas by the DOH, MHD or other governing bodies.

A person under quarantine is prohibited from establishing contact or making personal contact with other persons except medical frontliners or health workers treating them, the city government said.

The mandatory quarantine ordinance imposes stiff penalties on violators. A fine of P5,000 is imposed for the first offense while a 3rd offense or more warrants a year-long imprisonment on top of the P5,000 fine.

The city government stressed that the mandatory quarantine ordinance excludes persons with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or other kinds of infectious/communicable diseases “that do not call formandatory quarantine for the prevention of its transmission.” 

In a statement, Binay said that the city government “pushed for these new ordinances mainly to reinforce current efforts to stem the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities. But their purpose extends beyond the current pandemic to cover similar health emergencies in the future. With these legislations in place, we would be able to take swift and resolute measures to effectively stop the spread of infectious diseases.” –Rappler.com