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Except in three sectors, face mask use in the workplace is now voluntary.

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Regulations on the voluntary wearing of masks in workplaces across the country have been released by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The action is described in Labor Advisory No. 22, which Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma signed on November 2.

“This Advisory shall apply to all private sector employees and workplaces. Face mask use in the workplace must be voluntary, it continued.

The DOLE stated that the required mask requirement would still be in place in three locations.

These regions include healthcare institutions such as hospitals, clinics, dialysis centers, laboratories, nursing homes, and ambulance and paramedic rescue vehicles. They also include public transportation by land, air, or sea.

It said, “Wearing face masks is strongly recommended for the elderly, immunocompromised, unvaccinated, and symptomatic adults, individuals with comorbidities, and pregnant women.”

Despite this action, the department stated that both employers and employees must collaborate to guarantee safe and healthy working conditions in compliance with Republic Act 11058’s amendments to the Philippine Labor Code and minimum public health standards.

It continued, “Employers and their employees 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 therewith pursuant to the existing company policy, rules, and regulations.

The action is in accordance with Executive Order No. 7, which President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. issued on October 28 and repealed the nation’s indoor mask requirement.

The regional DOLE offices must consistently offer the necessary support to guarantee safe and healthy working conditions in every workplace.

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