Last week, the Quezon City government announced that they will be arresting quarantine violators if caught in the act. That announcement stirred up a lot of talk among residents of the city, as well as on social media. That's because of the term “warrantless arrest” mentioned several times in the memorandum. There, it also stated that a mask should be worn in public at all times.
One of the motoring-related questions that were brought up was “is it now illegal to drive alone without a mask in Quezon City?”. After all, Section 3, SP-2908 specifically states “All persons must, at all times, wear a mask or face covering while in public places in Quezon City, regardless of the length of time in such public place, the purpose of being there, or proximity to another person”.
The Quezon City government has addressed that question, along with many more, in a new statement. In the subject of mask violations, the local government has said “while QC mandates that masks should be worn in public and workplaces, there is nothing mentioned about masks in cars”. To simplify it even further, yes, you can drive solo around the city without a mask.
It follows what the Department of Transport said back in June which doesn't require masks while driving along during General Community Quarantine. However, you can still be apprehended for not wearing a mask in your car if the windows are open, said PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.
Another thing the Quezon City government clarified was the curfew. In their words, “QC does not arrest people if they 'missed curfew by a few seconds'. This is a gross and senseless exaggeration”. Motorists on the road after curfew hours will not be apprehended so as long as they are front liners (medical, law enforcement, fire), employees coming home from work, or authorized persons outside of residence (APORs).
The statement adds, “To be clear, there will be no deviation from the existing enforcement policy, and arrests shall only be made in rare and extreme circumstances”.
Of course, that's not to say you shouldn't bring a mask with you when you're heading out. After all, you'll still be getting down from your vehicle when you've reached your destination. Also, if you're carrying one or more passengers with you, all occupants must wear a mask, according to LTO Executive Director Romeo Vera Cruz. For public utility vehicles, however, everyone is required to wear a mask, regardless of passenger count.