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San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora

San Juan issues ordinance on voluntary wearing of face mask 

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San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora inked on Friday, Nov. 4, the City Ordinance No. 54, series of 2022 adopting Executive Order No. 7 issued by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in both indoor and outdoor settings in the city except in health care facilities, medical transport vehicles and public transportation by land, air or sea, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

Zamora said the ordinance is effective starting today as he urged everyone to still follow the public health and safety protocols despite the easing of some measures such as the voluntary wearing of face masks and increasing the capacity of establishments.

“The operative word here is “voluntary”. No one is forcing anyone not to wear a mask. So we have the option if we feel that the indoor area we are in is safe then we have the option not to wear a mask. If we feel that it’s crowded and there’s too many people and it’s not safe then we have the option or choice to wear a mask,” the mayor said in an interview with ANC during the time when the voluntary wearing of face masks indoors was still being proposed.

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“So I believe that we are being given a choice. This is something that I honestly appreciate because there are some instances where you may be indoors but it is not a high-risk area so I can opt not to wear my mask. But once I enter for instance a mall that is filled with a lot of people, I will choose to wear my mask,” he added.

Zamora previously approved of the national government’s decision allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with adequate ventilation.

On Oct. 28, Marcos Jr. signed EO 7 allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor settings.

Under EO 7, the wearing of face masks in indoor and outdoor settings shall be voluntary except in healthcare facilities, medical transport, and public transportation by land, air, or sea.

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The liberalization of the face mask mandate has been recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) through its Resolution 3 (s. 2022).

Mask-wearing is still encouraged for the elderly, individuals with comorbidities, immunocompromised persons, pregnant women, unvaccinated individuals, and symptomatic individuals, according to the EO.

“A policy of voluntary wearing of face masks in both indoor and outdoor settings is a positive step towards normalization, and a welcome development that would encourage activities and boost efforts toward the full reopening of the economy,” Marcos Jr. said.

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