Some Cebuanos favor optional wearing of masks in open, well-ventilated spaces

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SOME residents in Cebu Province have supported Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s executive order that allows the optional use of face masks in well-ventilated and open areas in the province.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu Tuesday, June 21, 2022, Marilyn Jagbel, 40, from Alegria town, said wearing a face mask is acceptable in crowded areas to prevent possible transmission of the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“Para nako, okay ra nga magsuot og face masks basta daghan ug tao, closed area sama sa mga air-conditioned na lugar. Pero sa probinsya, sa Alegria, pwede ra na optional kini kay bukid-bukid ang lugar ug dili crowded ... apan diri sa siyudad, kinahanglan jud ang pagsuot sa face masks,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has required the mandatory wearing of face masks in all public places.

Garcia, however, issued on June 8, 2022, Executive Order (EO) 16, allowing the optional use of face masks in open spaces or well-ventilated venues.

The Cebu Provincial Board adopted Garcia’s EO when it passed an ordinance “rationalizing” the use of face masks in the province on June 14.

But Jagbel expressed her concern for the public’s health safety if people would forego wearing face masks as it could cause a spike in Covid-19 cases.

“Kon motaas sab ang kaso sa Covid-19, kita ra man gihapon ang mag-antos. Dili baya nato makit-an ang kagaw,” she said.

Jay Asumbrado, 21, from Dalaguete, also supported Garcia’s policy, citing the decline of Covid-19 cases in the province.

“According to Gwen’s statement, the ordinance is implemented in the province, so (it is) definitely fine. Nowadays, dili ra man rampant or (paspas) ang spread sa virus. Nagka-lessen na siya og dili na siya high risk,” said Asumbrado.

He admitted the inconvenience caused by wearing face masks, especially for those wearing eyeglasses.

“Especially sa mga tao nga nag-eyeglasses, ang moist mo pilit sa eyeglasses,” he said.

A 58-year-old street vendor in Cebu City, Claudio Cabutin, shared Asumbrado’s struggle.

“Usahay mag sabol ang mag face mask ... maglisod ta og ginhawa. Ug naa gani virus, dili makasagang ang [pagsuot sa] face masks, muatos man gihapon atoang ginhawa,” he said.

Alexy Cabellon, 24, from Bantayan Island, said the optional wearing of face masks is not applicable especially in Cebu City.

“Dili ko favor sa optional face mask kung diri sa Cebu City. Mas maayo nga tanan gyud kay wala pa nahuman ang [atong pakipagbatok sa] virus,” he said.

Cebu City, a highly urbanized city, has been placed under Alert Level 1 from June 15 to June 30, while Cebu Province has been under the stricter Alert Level 2.

Cebu City is not covered by the provincial ordinance. (Irish Delima and Ryan Megabon, CNU Interns)

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