Lifting of Mask Requirement in Open Spaces to Be Tested in Q4: Officials

The government's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 has recommended making the wearing of face masks outdoors optional, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a resolution signed on Sept. 5, the IATF recommended relaxing the mask mandate in the country, which is still subject to a pilot test set for the last quarter of the year, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

According to Angeles, wearing of face masks will be optional in open spaces or non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation. Senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are still highly-encouraged to wear face masks.

EXPLAINER: Why Face Masks are Still Essential After the Pandemic

Department of Health OIC USec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the IATF's recommendation was "verbally approved" by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

While the IATF has recommended the lifting of the mask mandate outdoors, Cruz-Angeles pointed out that this is not the policy of the government yet.

"Kailangan i-improve natin yung statistics ng mga nagpa-booster na para by the end of the year, magpa-pilot test na ng ating lifting of mandatory mask mandate," she said.

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A National Booster Week is scheduled on Sept. 26 to 29 to encourage more Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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