Lapu mayor favors optional mask wearing outdoors

·2 min read

LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said he is personally “in favor” of making the wearing of face masks outdoors optional.

Chan made the statement on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, although he stressed that he was still waiting for his health team to decide whether they will adopt the executive order of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia that is now a local law.

Garcia’s EO 16, issued last June 8, makes mask wearing in open and well-ventilated areas in the province optional.

Chan’s health team is composed of Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, who also serves as the city’s consultant; City Legal Officer James Sayson, who also serves as deputy officer of the city’s Vaccination Operations Center; City Health Officer Dr. Agnes Cecile Realiza, and City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit nurse coordinator Grace Carungay, among others.

Loreche is also a consultant of the Cebu Provincial Government.

Singapore

The mayor said he himself witnessed in Singapore, which he noted as one of the progressive countries, that they no longer require the wearing of face masks outdoors but instead strictly implement the use of such indoors.

He said those who do not wear face masks indoors in Singapore will have to pay a fine of 2,000 Singapore dollars (roughly P77,000).

Chan said discipline is the only thing needed.

“But that’s it, we are waiting for the order, if possible. So if my team will decide, for me, I am in favor to [make] face mask outside optional,” he said.

Chan emphasized that some people could hardly breathe when outdoors due to the heat.

He further said the economy has started to recover while the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the city are very low despite the large gatherings during the campaign period for the recently concluded 2022 general elections.

Realiza earlier said the city had only six active Covid-19 cases as of Sunday, June 12.

Going with IATF

When sought for comment, the city health officer said that despite the low number of active Covid-19 cases, she would personally go with the protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) that mandate mask wearing outdoors.

Realiza said there are other viral infections nowadays, particularly the airborne diseases such as measles and chickenpox, that residents could catch.

It is better to self-protect, she said, although the optional wearing of face masks may be fine when people are with their own company whom they already know.

Based on the ordinance passed by the Provincial Board during their special session on Tuesday, face mask wearing will be required only in closed and air-conditioned spaces; and at all times for those who have symptoms of Covid-19 like fever, cough and runny nose whenever they leave their homes.

While they have yet to discuss on the matter, Chan said the wearing of face masks outdoors in the city remains the policy.

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