The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has issued an order requiring all passengers in areas with public transportation to wear face shields along with face masks starting August 15.

DOTr Memorandum Circular No. 2020-014 instructs all transportation sectors to implement a “No Face Shield, No Ride” policy.

For sea travel, the new policy will take effect on August 7.

Passengers were also advised to strictly observe minimum safety precautions, such as washing of hands and physical distancing.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade explained this new effort will be in conjunction with their current health and safety protocols to control the risk of transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in public areas, such as public transport vehicles. 

“Sa mga kababayan natin, huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield (To our countrymen, let us not think that the requirement to wear a face shield is an additional expense or inconvenience). 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,” Tugade said in a statement.

“What we are addressing is not a transport issue but rather a health issue. Kaya nga hinihingi ko ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa (That is why I am asking everyone to cooperate),” he added.

Aviation and airports, railways, road, as well as the maritime sector, are part of the new “No Face Shield, No Ride” policy.

The new policy came after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) said it is considering the use of face shields in public places as part of the government’s efforts to control the disease. 

The IATF’s recommendation was backed by some studies saying that the shield could potentially block the Covid-19 virus by up to 99 percent.

“Mayroon po kasing mga tinatawag na visor, goggles, o ‘yong iba pang (There are so-called visors, goggles, or other) 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 added.

Meanwhile, the DOTr clarified that other preventive measures are still in effect to control the spread of Covid-19 infections in all public transport facilities, such as the mandatory wearing of face masks, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and handwashing or hand sanitizing.  RJ Espartinez