Ever since the Land Transportation Office (LTO) released Memorandum Circular 2020-2185 last year, all drivers and passengers in public and private vehicles were required to wear face masks. The only time a face mask is not needed is when you're driving alone in a private vehicle. If caught, the memorandum says the violation is reckless driving and the penalty is a cash fine.
Some motorists question the need to wear face masks in their cars, especially for families traveling together. Their argument? If everyone inside the vehicle lives under the same roof, it wouldn't make sense for them to wear a facemask right?
It seems the issue has been brought up to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). According to LTO Secretary Edgar Galvante in an online press briefing, the IATF and the Department of Health (DOH) will soon be reviewing the said facemask policy in private vehicles. Subsequently, he adds that it is up to the two agencies to decide if there are any adjustments needed. Whatever adjustment the IATF and DOH might impose or recommend, the LTO will then comply.
For the time being, the LTO requires motorists are to wear masks inside their vehicles, regardless if passengers are from the same household. The agency adds that using face masks will curb the spread of the virus. At the same time, Galvante adds it will be challenging to identify whether occupants in the vehicle are living under the same roof.
Interestingly, Galavante adds that motorists caught not wearing face masks will not be fined for now. Instead, they will only be reprimanded and reminded to following the minimum public health standards.
With that, we'd like the IATF to clear up the issue of face masks in private vehicles very soon. That way, the public can stay informed about mask usage as quickly as possible.