The “no mask, no entry” policy in some supermarkets, pharmacies, and restaurants is not among the guidelines under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), a Palace official said on Monday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said these establishments should continue to allow customers inside for as long as they observed one-meter social distancing.
“Wala naman kaming nilabas na patakaran mula sa Inter-Agency Task Force na kailangan magsuot ng mask bago pumasok ng supermarket (We don’t have any rule from the Inter-Agency Task Force that requires people to wear masks before entering supermarkets),” he said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
He said establishments are also limiting the number of people allowed inside and regularly conduct disinfection.
Netizens criticized the no mask, no entry policy due to a limited supply of surgical face masks in the country.
In the same briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Besides the supplies expected from local manufacturers, she said the department is currently relying on donations from other countries which are distributed to health workers and other frontline workers in curbing Covid-19.
“Gusto man po nating bumili ngayon, wala tayong mabilhan kaya tayo ay umaasa sa ating mga donasyon sa ngayon (Even if we want to purchase more masks, there are no more sellers that’s why we’re relying on donations),” she said.
Last March 18, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez assured that the supply of face masks will soon be replenished after a Bataan-based manufacturer agreed to supply 5 million face masks from March until April.
The manufacturer was able to produce 200,0000 face masks per day amid the huge demand.
“We will have another request to increase the preposition and the allotment for the Philippines since we recognize that even these numbers are not enough to provide for all Filipinos,” Lopez said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the country under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity due to the highly-infectious disease which was already declared by the World Health Organization as a pandemic. (PNA)