Wearing face masks outdoors no longer required in Cebu Province

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(UPDATED) Wearing face masks in well-ventilated and open spaces in Cebu Province are no longer required.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday, June 9, 2022, issued Executive Order (EO) No. 16, stating that the use of face masks will only be required in closed and/or air-conditioned spaces, and will only be optional in well-ventilated and open spaces.

“The wearing of face masks shall be required only in closed and/or air-conditioned spaces. The use of face masks shall be optional in well-ventilated and open spaces,” Garcia said in her EO.

The governor, however, clarified that people who are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms such as coughs, colds, fever and runny nose should wear a mask to avoid infecting others.

"Persons are highly encouraged to continue to wear their masks, especially in crowded outdoor areas. Persons who are unwell with symptoms of Covid-19 such as fever, cough or runny nose, are required to wear a mask at all times when they leave their homes," the EO said.

The wearing of face masks was mandated by the Department of Health during the outbreak of the Sars-CoV-2 (now Covid-19) virus in 2020.

Two years later, the mandate is still being implemented as coronavirus cases continue to increase and other variants and sub-variants are discovered.

Police have also been strictly enforcing the mandate, reprimanding individuals who are not wearing masks or not wearing them properly.

Garcia earlier said with Covid-19 cases continuing to be prevalent in Cebu province, it is appropriate to implement measures for the new normal.

In April 2021, Garcia said fining people who do not wear masks is “anti-poor.”

In the same year, she also ordered police to provide free face masks to Cebuanos who are not wearing them.

The province is under Alert Level 2 until June 15. (ANV/JGS)

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