The Philippines eases mask rule

MANILA, 14 September 2022: The Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) hails the decision of President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr to liberalise the country’s mask mandate to allow the voluntary wearing of face masks outdoors.

“The President’s Executive Order is a welcome development, especially as empirical data shows that in other economies in Asia, Europe, and North America where stringent health protocols were lifted, this resulted in more favourable economic conditions, increase in tourist arrivals, and a faster recovery of their respective tourism portfolio,” the DOT said in a media statement released yesterday.

(Photo Credit: DOT)

“The DOT is optimistic that the lifting of the mask mandate will allow the Philippines to gradually catch up in the race for tourism recovery in the ASEAN region as this is seen to build more confidence in travel, spur economic activity, and enhance people-to-people connectivity into and around the country.”

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said it would, hopefully, speed up the recalibration of all remaining restrictions as the country strikes the necessary balance between protecting lives and promoting livelihood.

“Our prospects for recovery are much brighter with the Philippines’ signalling to the world that we are open, we are ready, and we are moving forward,” she said.

Under the EO, those who have yet to complete their primary Covid-19 vaccination series, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons are still “highly encouraged” to use face masks.

The voluntary wearing of face masks will apply to open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation. However, the Executive Order still requires face masks to be worn in indoor, private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea and outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

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