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Face mask use in workplaces now voluntary except in 3 areas

November 3, 2022 People's Journal 194 views

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued guidelines on the voluntary wearing of masks in workplaces nationwide.

The measure is stipulated in Labor Advisory No. 22 dated Nov. 2 and signed by Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma.

“This Advisory shall cover all workers and workplaces in the private sector. The wearing of face masks in workplaces shall be voluntary,” it added.

However, the DOLE said the mandatory mask rule will remain in effect in three places.

These areas are healthcare facilities, including, but not limited to, clinics, hospitals, laboratories, nursing homes, and dialysis clinics; medical transport vehicles, such as ambulance and paramedic rescue vehicles; and public transportation by land, air, or sea.

“Elderly, immunocompromised, unvaccinated, and symptomatic individuals, individuals with comorbidities, and pregnant women are highly encouraged to wear face masks,” it added.

Despite this measure, the department also said employers and workers must work together to ensure safe and healthful working conditions in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended by Republic Act 11058, and minimum public health standards.

“Employers and their workers may implement a policy requiring the wearing of face masks, taking into account, among others, the hazards and risks (e.g., enclosed space and poor ventilation), industry requirements (e.g.. food safety), and incidence of other communicable diseases (e.g., flu and tuberculosis), including measures to address noncompliance thereto pursuant to the existing company policy, rules, and regulations,” it added.

The move is in compliance with Executive Order No. 7 signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Oct. 28, which lifted the country’s mask mandate in indoor spaces.

The DOLE regional offices shall continuously provide appropriate assistance to ensure safe and healthful working conditions in all workplaces. Philippine News Agency