Airline lauds gov't nod to make mask wearing optional outdoors

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

September 13, 2022, 6:53 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – Low-cost carrier AirAsia Philippines on Tuesday welcomed the government's decision to make the wearing of face masks optional outdoors, saying this will further spur economic activity as more people will be encouraged to travel.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday approved an executive order (EO) that allows the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, particularly in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

"The signing of EO No. 3 is very timely since we are expecting more guests both foreign and local during ‘ber’ months. People can now enjoy fresh air outdoors and feel a sense of normalcy in our day-to-day lives," the carrier's spokesperson, Steve Dailisan, said in a statement.

The move, he said, is a welcome development that will attract more leisure travelers.

AirAsia has noted that the public is still required to wear face masks in enclosed spaces like aircraft and airports.

"We remain committed to implementing stringent health protocols on ground and in flight set by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) and firmly enforced by the aviation regulatory bodies," Dailisan said.

Meanwhile, the wearing of face masks may still be required in some outdoor spaces of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Public Affairs Department’s officer-in-charge Ma. Consuelo Bungag said.

She said there are times when social distancing is not being observed at areas such as the departure curbside and the arrival extension.

In those areas, masks may be required, she told reporters. (PNA)