A day after the government has declared face shield usage voluntary in areas under more lenient COVID-19 alert levels, some citizens reported instances that there are establishments which are not following the new directive.
The Palace on Tuesday reiterated that the plastic gear is no longer required under Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3. On the other hand, for areas under Alert Level 4, the Palace said that the implementation of the face shield policy is up to the local government units and private establishments.
Metro Manila, the country’s economic center, is currently on Alert Level 2 until the end of the month.
“Clearly sa memorandum, sa [COVID-19 Alert] Level 4 lang po iyong binibigyan ng discretion… Sa Level 1, 2, 3, purely voluntary po ‘yan,” acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretay Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing.
“Private establishments would have to follow the protocols. When it is voluntary, it means it is the personal choice of the person,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the pandemic task force’s recommendation to ease the policy on the controversial plastic gear immediately on Monday,
It will only be required in areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdown, as well as in medical and quarantine facilities.
Residents of Alert Levels 2 and 3 shared ideas on how they can use the plastic gear with the hopes of lessening plastic wastes following the directive.
Despite the relief over the relaxed face shield policy, some online users complained that there are still establishments under Alert Level 1 to 3 areas requiring the wearing of the plastic gear. They called the attention of authorities.
“Maraming establishment sa Las Piñas City ayaw sumunod, lalo na ‘yong Robinsons Easy Mart grocery sa Moonwalk. Kahit may directives na ang gov’t, ayaw nila sumunod at magpapasok. Paki-check ‘yan, mayor at brgy. capt ng Las Piñas City. Ayaw sumunod ng [mga] establishment, [siguro] marami pa silang binebenta na face shields kaya ayaw sumunod,” a Facebook user claimed.
Another online user tagged her friend in the comments section.
“[Redacted] asaaaan ‘yung guard sa BDO!” she wrote.
A different Filipino reported experiencing a similar incident involving face shield use.
“So funny na pumasok kami ng City Mall without face shield ay ok lang, tapos pagdating sa supermarket (inside City Mall) pinigilan kaming pumasok dahil wala kaming face shield. Asar!” she shared.
Another Facebook user alleged that “some banks in Las Piñas City still insist” on letting its customers wear the plastic gear as there is no “memo from their superior” yet.
A different Filipino called out a company as well.
“Mercury [Drugstore], sana mabasa niyo ‘to ha, para kayong kasosyo ng face shield,” she wrote.
The use of face shields has long been criticized by Filipinos following studies that it is not effective in stopping aerosol or airborne transmission of the virus causing COVID-19.
A 2020 study published in the journal Physics of Fluids found that although face shields block the initial forward motion of one’s cough or sneeze, the expelled droplets can move around the visor “with relative ease and spread out over a large area.”
The simulation that the researchers performed showed that droplets remained suspended at the bottom of the shield and spread to the front and sides of the mannequin that was used for the study.