President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has made optional the mask-wearing policy in outdoor areas nationwide, the Palace announced on Monday.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace briefing that the president’s masking policy, which was stated in his Executive Order (EO) No. 3, took effect immediately.

The EO lifted the country’s mandatory mask mandate and allowed the optional wearing of face masks in open spaces, outdoor areas and crowded spaces with good ventilation.

Partially vaccinated individuals, senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are “highly encouraged” to wear masks.

Mask-wearing remains required in indoor, private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea and in outdoor settings where distancing cannot be observed.

Physical distancing and other public health standards will continue to be implemented, Cruz-Angeles said.

According to the EO, 93 percent of the country’s target population have been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 6, which translates to about 72 million individuals. John Ezekiel J. Hirro