Cebu biz leaders welcome optional face mask use but…

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | September 11,2022 - 11:30 AM
Passersby – with and without a face shield – walk past an artwork of a health worker wearing a face mask and eye shields on Recto Avenue in Manila. (File photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Passersby – with and without a face shield – walk past an artwork of a health worker wearing a face mask and eye shields on Recto Avenue in Manila. (File photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Key figures in Cebu’s business community welcomed the decision of the government to make the use of face masks optional in outdoor settings.

Presidents of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Mandaue Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) described it as a “positive development.”

“I think it’s about time… Implementing an optional mask policy will psychologically encourage people to go about their lives as we normally do which is important in restoring our economy and recovery,” Charles Kenneth Co, president of CCCI, said in a text message sent to reporters. 

MCCI President Kelie Ko, in a separate message, also shared the same sentiments with Co. 

“Removing the mask requirement has the psychological effect of declaring the pandemic progressing to the endemic stage. From the business sector, this is a positive development,” Ko said. 

However, both continue to urge the public to be responsible and observe minimum health standards. 

For Co, he encouraged residents in Cebu to get their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as an added protection, especially if they opt to ditch face masks in open spaces. 

“I would still encourage those who have not received their booster shot to get it as it helps lessen the symptoms should they get infected,” he explained. 

Ko also said those who will decide to not wear face masks in public areas should exercise responsibility. 

“We respect it (non-wearing of face mask) as a personal choice and hope that those who choose not to wear masks must continue to be responsible in observing health protocols,” he added.

The Malacañang announced last September 8 that the government’s anti-COVID task force approved a resolution that seeks to make the wearing of face masks optional, and no longer a requirement, in open or well-ventilated spaces by the last quarter of this year. 

Cebu province has already dropped face masks as a requirement in outdoor spaces since June. Its capital, Cebu City, did a similar move through a “trial and observation period” that lasts until December 31, 2022.

Both decisions sparked discussions and debates at the national level on face masks, a primary measure that prevents the spread of COVID-19, amid the public slowly returning to their pre-pandemic lives.

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TAGS: CCCI, Cebu‬, Cebu City, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Charles Kenneth Co, face mask, MCCI, MCCI President Kelie Ko

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