Don’t throw away those face shields yet, but find a way to still carry them with you.
Although President Duterte allowed people not to wear face shields outdoors, he still required their use in enclosed places, in crowded areas and during close-contact activities.
His decision to ease the face shield rules was welcomed on Thursday by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, one of the critics of the facial contraption which he said had dubious benefits.
Domagoso had openly criticized the face shield policy as an added expense that did not give people full protection from COVID-19, unless in an indoor setting like a hospital.
“Thank you, Mr. President. This will ease the people’s (expenses). I told you we will agree if you make sense,” the presidential aspirant said in an interview with CNN a day after Duterte announced the new rules on face shield use in his televised talk to the people.
The President on Wednesday night said he decided to heed the advice of experts from the government pandemic task force’s Technical Advisory Group to require the use of face shields only in places considered “high risk” such as indoor establishments, mass transportation, mass gatherings and outdoor or indoors activities that involved close contact among individuals.
So that these places could be easily remembered he called them the “Three Cs”—closed spaces, crowded areas, and close contact activities.
“Outside of these three limitations, you are allowed not to use [face shields],” He said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the government body managing the pandemic, required the use of face shields in all open and enclosed areas in December 2020.
He initially said he wanted the policy to be scrapped, but he changed his mind when the number of cases of Delta variants began to rise in the Philippines.
“I got so scared that I ordered the reimposition of the face shields,” He said.
He explained that his concern was that “no matter how small the contributing factor” face shields had in avoiding contracting COVID-19, it was “okay” to use them.
Instead of requiring face shields, experts from the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 had been urging the government and business establishments to improve ventilation in enclosed areas and mass transportation.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF was expected to list the specific areas and activities where the use of face shields would still be mandatory.
Roque said increasing the number of vaccinated Filipinos was also a factor in the policy of slightly relaxing the requirements in the use of face shields.
He stated that the threat of the Delta variant, now the dominant COVID-19 variation in the country was still present and that Filipinos should continue to get vaccinated.
Sales suddenly plunge
Face shield dealers observed an immediate drop in sales just a day after Duterte revised the government’s policy.
One of them, Cleofe Tolentino, told Radyo Inquirer that she had not made any sales when she was interviewed at midmorning on Thursday, when she would have already sold 3,000 pieces of the ubiquitous plastic face protection held in a frame that looks like half of an eyeglass.
She estimated that they sold 5,000 to 5,000 pieces each day.
Tolentino, who buys them in bulk at a price of P6.50 per unit, expects the prices to drop.
She was selling them wholesale at P10.00 per unit before the lockdown.
Tolentino hoped people would not be aware of the late-night announcement and that they would purchase from her.
P75 each last year
Another wholesaler, Rudy Dayag, said his price was even higher last year at P75.00.
He was also not optimistic about making big sales.
“What could we do, it’s the President’s order,” Dayag stated.
Amparo Francisco, who was haggling for a discount from the dealers, said she used to buy face shields for only P5.00 apiece and sold them for twice the price.
“We are expecting to lose an income source,” She spoke out about the new policy.
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