The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said active transport users were no longer required to use face shields due to potential safety risks when used during transport.

The reminder was issued following reports that cyclists were being arrested for not wearing face shields.

“Based on the section II (B) (6) of DOH Department Memorandum No, 2020-0634, which provides guidance on the use of face shields for COVID-19 mitigation, ‘individuals engaged in strenuous activities, work, fine workmanship, operation of transport vehicles, and active transport” are exempted from wearing face shields,” the DOH said in a statement.

“With increasing reports of cyclists and other active transport users being arrested for not wearing face shields, the Department of Health reiterates that active transport users are NOT required to use face shields due to potential safety risks when used during active transport,” the DOH said.

On Sunday, a doctor was detained and charged with civil disobedience and unjust vexation by the Cainta Police after being caught biking without a face shield.

The doctor, who asked to be kept anonymous, was released on Wednesday after posting bail of P6,000 for the two cases.

The DOH also said that Section II (A) (5) of the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-0001 from different government agencies states that “due to the possible vision impairment face shields bring, bikers and users of other forms of active transport are exempted from the mandatory use of face shields outside of their residences.”

“Nevertheless, pursuant to DOH-DOTr-DILG-DPWH Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-0001, the DOH emphasizes that face shields must be worn before and after cycling or other similar activities,” the agency added.

The health department also reminded active transport users that the use of face masks and the observance of physical distancing, respiratory hygiene practices, and other appropriate health interventions must continue while cycling or engaging in other forms of active transport. Jade Veronique V. Yap