Baguio face mask, shield ordinance enforced soon

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The city government will soon enforce the Face Mask and Face Shield Ordinance of 2021 following completion of its amendment process.

Approved on final reading by the city council last April 5, Ordinance No. 49 series of 2021 amended sections no. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Ordinance No. 45-2020 or the Face Mask Ordinance of Baguio City by incorporating the face shield requirement.

The amended ordinance now also regulates the indiscriminate disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the city.

The measure declares it unlawful for all persons including tourists and outsiders who leave their homes to go to public places, buildings, national roads or highway, sidewalks, walkways, or public conveyances or other similar establishments, without wearing face mask and face shield until the threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is completely eliminated in the country or during the State of Public Health Emergency.

This however is subject to exceptions.

Face masks will not be required to be worn in the following circumstances:
* Infants and children who are two (2) years old and below;
* When eating or drinking in public places; and
* Where the wearing of face masks impedes physical and sensory functioning of Persons with Disability (PWDs).

Face shields will not be required to be worn in the following circumstances:
* Infants and children who are two (2) years old and below;
* When eating or drinking in public places;
* Where patients have been advised by their physicians against wearing face shields due to a particular medical condition;
* Where the wearing of face shields impedes physical and sensory functioning of Persons with Disability (PWDs);
* While engaged in activities that require physical exertion such as brisk walking, jogging, running, biking, aerobic exercises, and other forms of physical exercise provided that physical distancing is strictly observed; and
* Where the wearing of face shields directly cause hazard or impede vision or mobility while in the conduct of work or while driving vehicles.

As to public utility vehicles, Memorandum Circular No. 2020-014 [Mandatory Wearing of Face Shields for Passengers Using Public Transportation] issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 [DTI and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19] issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the “No Face Shield, No Face Mask, No Ride” policy will apply that covers all public transportation sectors.

The ordinance also prohibits transacting business with any person not wearing a face mask and a face shield in the public markets, supermarkets, groceries, malls, shopping centers, and government offices but for employees, workers or personnel within these establishments and offices, they may momentarily remove their face shields where the conduct of their work does not involve face to face or person to person interaction with clients, customers, visitors or co-employees and provided that social or physical distancing is observed and/or the presence of a plastic barrier in between the transacting parties.

Further, the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 of DTI and DOLE states that face shield requirement applies to all private establishments to include banks.

Other prohibited acts are hoarding, profiteering, or manipulating the prices for face masks or face shields being sold to the general public and indiscriminately discarding or disposing used and/or damaged face mask, face shield, gloves, and tissues or any fabric used in cleaning face shields.

“To reduce transmission of the virus during solid waste collection, disinfection should be done before disposal of used face masks, face shields and hand gloves. This can be done by soaking the face mask and/or face shield for ten minutes in a strong solution using one part (part can be of any unit of measure, e.g. liter ounce, cup, tablespoon, teaspoon) household bleach mixed with nine parts clean water. After disinfection, the item/s shall be placed in a plastic container preferably transparent, separated from other wastes and labeled as “Used Face Mask/s” or “Used Face Shield/s” as the case may be. Said plastic container must be sealed.”

Penalties are as follows:

For non-wearing of face mask: first offense — P1,000; second offense — P2,000; third offense — P3,000 and cancellation of business permit if applicable.

For non-wearing of face shield and indiscriminate disposal of used or damaged face masks and face shields: first offense — P 500; second offense — P1,000; third offense — P2,000 and cancellation of business permit if applicable.

If the violator is a minor, the parent or guardian will be assessed the corresponding fine.

The City Health Services Office (HSO), the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) and the Permits and Licensing Division (PLD) under the Office of the City Mayor, the Public Information Office

Face mask is defined in the ordinance as “a fitting device that creates a barrier between the nose and mouth of the wearer and potential contaminants, particles, toxins, and pollutants. For purpose of this Ordinance, face masks include medical or surgical masks, N95 masks, respirator masks, and improvised face covers designed to protect the wearer from inhaling contaminant or disease particles in the immediate environment” and can be single-use or reusable ones.

Face shield refers to “transparent physical barriers made of plastic or acetate material that can be easily disinfected that cover the sides and length of the wearer’s entire face. The panel of the face shield should extend past the chin and curve around the sides of the wearer’s face. The Inter-Agency Task Force approved only the full face shields.” – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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