‘Wear it for others’: Doctors, Romnick Sarmienta prefer to keep face masks on outdoors

September 13, 2022 - 6:45 PM
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Face masks in public
Commuters don face masks on while waiting for available public transport along Taft Avenue in Manila on Monday night, Sept. 12, 2022 as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approves an executive order allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings as recommended by the IATF. (The STAR/Miguel de Guzman)

The country may have shifted from mandating the wearing of face masks outdoors to allowing its voluntary use, but some personalities are advocating keeping the protective contraptions on.

Veteran actor Romnick Sarmenta was one of them.

“So people think that wearing a mask is an inconvenience. But is it more convenient to risk the elderly and those with weaker resistance? I wear a mask for others. #keepyourmaskon,” Sarmenta tweeted.

Tony Leachon, former National Task Force against COVID-19 special adviser, also stated the importance of wearing face masks as a protective measure.

Leachon accompanied his tweet with an infographic that listed reasons why face masks should be worn in public.

“Wear face mask in public for 3 reasons. A face mask is our protective gear vs the virus. It reflects also our moral values and our thinking process on how to solve this pandemic,” he said.

Harold Henrison Chiu, also a doctor, said he would still wear face masks in public.

Chiu listed his reasons for this decision in his tweet.

“Masks should be the last to go,” he said.

A doctor with the handle (@docbenjisays) also provided similar reasons for being steadfast in wearing face masks outdoors.

Illustration by cromaconceptovisual via Pixabay

“I am not removing my mask anytime soon until this pandemic ends. If you care for others, you won’t too. The numbers are not only underreported. A lot of people are not testing,” he said.

“While the economy is reopening, it looks normal. Until you test positive,” he added.

‘Voluntary’

By virtue of Executive Order No. 3, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved on Monday that face masks can be worn voluntarily amid the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the country.

This amendment in the policy applies under the following specific conditions:

  • Outdoor settings must not be crowded, and physical distancing consistently observed
  • Outdoor area must have good ventilation

Individuals who are “highly encouraged” to wear face masks are as follows:

  • Not yet fully vaccinated
  • Senior citizens
  • Immunocompromised individuals

The EO was signed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the voluntary wearing of face masks last week.

The mandatory wearing of face masks has been in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the main protective measures against the disease.

Other Filipinos, especially those who were burdened with wearing the accessory, welcomed the new mandate.

Professional preference

The Department of Health also previously stressed in an advisory that it’s safer to wear face masks in outdoor settings.

The health department further noted that this information is backed by scientific data and advice from experts.

READ: ‘Mas ligtas’: DOH reminds masking is still safer outdoors after IATF proposal 

Some social media users also expressed deep concern over the change in the previous public health protocol.

They reminded others about the low rate of COVID-19 booster shots in the country as compared to its neighbors and the uptick in the weekly tally of COVID-19 cases.

READ: Public reminded of risks as gov’t OKs voluntary face mask removal outdoors