BY MYLA IGLESIAS AND NOEL TALACAY
PASSENGERS of all types of public transportation throughout the country will now be required to wear face shields at all times as an added protection against contracting the deadly novel coronavirus.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday said the new regulation will be effective starting August 15.
“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. What we are addressing is not a transport issue but rather a health issue. I appeal to everyone to please cooperate,” transportation secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Tugade, through a memorandum circular, said the directive will be strictly observed in all modes of public transportation in the country, such as trains, buses, modern and traditional jeepneys, taxis, ships/vessels and airplanes.
Tugade said the initiative is seen to further reduce the spread of the highly-infectious coronavirus in public transport facilities.
Alberto Suansing, senior consultant for the Road Sector, said the directive has been approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Suansing said the mandatory wearing of face shields will continue to be in effect even after Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal are upgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ).
The National Capital Region (NCR) and the four provinces reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine starting midnight of Tuesday (August 4) due to the alarming surge in COVID-19 infections, especially in the metropolis.
Tugade said passengers not wearing face shields will be barred from boarding any mode of public transportation.
Transportation undersecretary for administrative affairs Artemio Tuazon Jr. said the face shield should sufficiently cover the nose and mouth.
“We have different styles of face shields like visor, goggles, or protective eyewear that only encloses the eye area. We advise that our passengers use the ones that cover the whole face. It’s actually meant as a redundancy of the protection of the face mask,” Tuazon said.
Aside from the wearing of face shields, stringent preventive measures remain in effect in all public transportation modes, among them the mandatory wearing of face masks, strict enforcement of social distancing measures, and handwashing or hand sanitizing. Talking and the use of mobile phones are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation.