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A year of lockdown, non-wearing of face mask/shield to be penalized

A YEAR OF LOCKDOWN. A year after placing Baguio and Luzon under hard lockdown, the city council will also effect the use of face mask and shield at all times specially in public places and buildings. Photo shows Dr. William Occidental, who supervises the running of the Baguio City Isolation Center at the Santo Nino Hospital wearing both while getting vaccinated. Non-wearing of any of the apparatus will now be penalized. Photo by Neil Clark Ongchangco / PIO - Baguio

A year after placing Baguio and the rest of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, an ordinance passed by the city council last Monday will now require all residents to wear face masks and shields, or face penalty.

The city council approved Ordinance No. 27, series of 2021 a day before the city marked the executive order signed on March 16 last year by mayor Benjamin Magalong placing the city under lockdown.

It was, however, superseded by president Rodrigo Duterte’s order placing the whole island Luzon under ECQ the day after.

Fast forward to March 17 this year, Ordinance 27, Baguio Face Mask and Face Shield Ordinance, will take effect.

The ordinance will amend “Section Numbers 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 of Ordinance No. 45 series of 2020 that mandated “the wearing of face masks by all persons within the territorial jurisdiction of Baguio City until the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 is completely eliminated or during the declared state of public health emergency and providing penalties for violation thereof.”

The amendatory ordinance will now require the wearing of both apparatus outside of one’s residence or going to public places and buildings “until the threat of Covid-19 is completely eliminated in the country.”

The ordinance also made it clear that face shields shall have panel that “extend past the chin and curve around the sides of the wearer’s face.”

The ordinance, moreover, will take exempt of children two years old and below and persons with disabilities who “by reason of their disabilities would make the wearing of face mask and/or face shield hazardous or impede their physical and sensory functioning; patients as advised by their physicians especially those having trouble in breathing;…”

People doing exercises like brisk walking, jogging, running, zumba, and other forms of physical exercises but people undergoing such activities may not wear face shields but only face masks.

The ordinance give exemption for “some reasonable and justified instances, the worn face mask and face shield could be temporarily set aside or removed, in these instances – when eating and/or drinking in public places, when walking or standing all alone, with your very intimate close contact in an open environment.”

One exemption is non-wearing of shield in a properly ventilated room but temporarily.

It also requires vehicle drivers to wear face masks but not shields while driving since this could impede once vision as well as cyclists “while riding their bicycles shall wear face mask only while riding.”

Penalties for violators are: P500 on first offense; P1,000 on second offense; and, P2,000 on third offense including cancellation of business permit if applicable.

If the violator is a minor, the accompanying parent or guardian shall be assessed the corresponding fine.

It said that all public transportations shall comply with the “no face mask and no face shield, no ride” policy.

The ordinance will also require people to wear both while transacting business in public markets, supermarkets, groceries, malls, shopping centers, and government offices.

Face shield is also required at all private establishments to include banks.

Baguio has recorded its first confirmed Covid-19 case on March 23 last year, a 61-year old overseas Filipino worker from Italy.

As of March 15, the Department of Health – Cordillera says that Baguio has 6,556 confirmed cases of which 685 are active and 5,756 has since recovered or about 40 percent of 16,694 confirmed cases in the region.

Baguio accounts for about 45 percent of deaths (111 of 233).

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