public transportation

Aside from masks, face shields required for commuters starting August 15

Aika Rey
Aside from masks, face shields required for commuters starting August 15

PROPER USE. A man fixes his face shield while also wearing a face mask in Mandaluyong City during the reimposition of the modified enhanced communtiy quarantine on August 4, 2020.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

'Huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield,' says Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday, August 5, said commuters will be required to wear face shields – on top of the mandatory face masks – starting August 15.

The DOTr advised the use of coverings that enclose the entire face, and not only the eyes in the case of goggles.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran told reporters that those who refuse to wear face shields would be denied transport.

There are no exceptions as well, even for commuters who may have medical conditions.

“Kung meron po silang asthma, considered as high-risk individuals po sila. So ang advice po sa kanila ay manatili sa bahay,” Libiran said.

(If they have asthma, they are considered high-risk individuals. So our advice for them is to stay at home.)

The DOTr said the initiative aims to “further reduce” the risk of contracting COVID-19 in public transport facilities as “health authorities pointed out that the use of face shields and face masks reduces exposure to and emission of respiratory droplets.”

The Department of Health said in June that virus transmission in air-conditioned vehicles is “very low” when wearing masks.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade urged commuters to think about their health over the costs of buying face shields.

Face shields range from P40 to P60 apiece and the government is not giving out free ones. The government, so far, is only considering providing free masks for poor Filipinos.

“Sa mga kababayan ho natin, huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield (To our countrymen, let’s not think about the additional costs or inconvenience of requiring face shields),” Tugade said.

“Let us remember that no amount of protection is too much when it comes to health and safety, especially that we are battling an invisible enemy.”

The new policy will be implemented in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ, where public transportation is allowed. The circular also covers all transportation sectors – land, sea, and air.

AirAsia said on Wednesday that it will be requiring passengers to wear the additional covering throughout flights. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.