MANILA – The use of face shields is no longer required outdoors, Malacañang said on Monday amid confusion over the wearing of the said protective shields to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the wearing of face shields is no longer required outdoors because the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) only appealed to keep the rule on the use of face shields in enclosed public spaces such as commercial establishments, malls, and public transportation.

Prior to the IATF-EID’s appeal, Roque confirmed that Duterte decided that people only be required to wear face shields in hospitals.

“Ang malinaw po ganito, ha: Hindi na po kinakailangan ang face shield sa labas kasi hindi naman po inapila ‘yan ng IATF. Ang inapela lang ng IATF yung pagsuot ng face shield sa loob kasama na po sa mga malls at iba pang mga commercial establishments at saka sa mga pampublikong transportasyon (What’s clear is this: Face shields are no longer required outdoors because that is not what the IATF appealed. Their appeal is to use face shields indoors including malls, commercial establishments, and public transportation),” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

He also assured that individuals who are not wearing face shields outdoors will not be apprehended or punished by authorities.

“Hindi po ‘yan kasama doon sa inapela ng IATF. So yung hindi naman po inapela (That was not included in the appeal of the IATF. It was not appealed), that’s immediately executory,” he added.

Roque said Duterte will announce his final decision on the IATF-EID’s appeal on the use of face shields in his regular public address on Monday night.

“Mamayang gabi ay magkakaroon ng Talk to the People address kung saan ang polisiya sa face shields ay isa sa mapag-uusapan (Tonight there will be a Talk to the People address where the policy on face shields will be among the topics for discussion),” he said.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Duterte has agreed that the public should only be required to wear a face shield when they go to hospitals.

Sotto, during a Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on Tuesday, noted that the Philippines is the only country in the world requiring the use of face shields in public spaces.

Roque earlier said there is a “scientific basis” that wearing both face masks and face shields contributes to the substantial reduction of Covid-19 infections in the country.

The IATF required the use of both face shields and face masks outside of their residence in December 2020. (PNA)