It's Official: Wearing of Face Masks Indoors is Now Voluntary

Mandatory Use of Face Mask in the Philippines

( President Bongbong Marcos has formally made the wearing of face masks voluntary even in indoor settings, calling it a "positive step" towards the return to normalcy and the full reopening of the economy.

According to Marcos' executive order released today, October 28, the wearing of face masks in indoor and outdoor settings is made voluntary except in the following settings:

  • 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.

Also read:

New Omicron Subvariant, COVID Variant are Detected in the Philippines, Here's What We Know So Far

Mask-wearing is still encouraged for the:

  • Elderly;
  • Individuals with comorbidities;
  • Immunocompromised individuals;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Unvaccinated individuals; and
  • Symptomatic individuals.
face mask outdoors
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano

While the face mask mandate in indoor settings has been made optional, minimum health standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will continue to be implemented, the executive order read.

The new policy will take effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. As of the evening of October 28, the executive order has been published in the Official Gazette.

Marcos previously ordered the voluntary use of face masks in outdoor and non-crowded areas following the recommendation of the government's inter-agency task force against COVID-19.

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