Politics

Palace: Malls, establishments may require customers to use of face shields

face shields

FILE PHOTO: Discussions are ongoing amid stronger calls to stop the face shield mandate in the country. INQUIRER/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — Malls and other establishments have the discretion to require customers to wear face shields before being allowed entry, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said employers and establishments, including shopping malls, may require face shields “for the protection of their customers, their clientele, and employees.”

“It’s on the discretion ng establishment because sometimes the establishments might believe that it’s better protection for their customers, their clientele and their employees, so it’s really up to them,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.

The use of face shields is currently voluntary in areas under Alert Level 3 and below, except for healthcare settings, but there are discussions on whether to reinstate the mandatory policy in light of the threat of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Metro Manila remains under Alert Level 2 until Dec. 15.

Nograles said the government’s pandemic task force, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, is still discussing whether to again require the use of face shields in closed settings.

The government is likewise monitoring developments, especially on the Omicron variant.

“We will have to look where this goes. We’ll have to monitor very closely,” he said.

The IATF will meet on Thursday and new policy changes may be announced on Friday, Nograles said.

The return of the mandatory use of face shields was floated amid the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said he and Health Secretary Francisco Duque are in favor of re-requiring the use of face shields.

For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) is not yet recommending the use of face shields, pointing out that compliance with health protocols such as physical distancing, face masking, and hand hygiene is more important since the coronavirus is transmitted through close contact, not by air.

/MUF

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