Face shields no longer needed on voting day in areas under alert level 3 or lower

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 21) — Face shields are no longer required on election day, May 9, in areas under alert level 3 or lower, according to new rules issued by the Commission on Elections.

The poll body’s New Normal Manual published over the weekend factored in the latest policy of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which states that the wearing of face shields is “voluntary” for people in areas under alert levels 3, 2, and 1.

Face shields are a must in areas under alert levels 4 and 5.

Voting centers will open at 6 a.m. on election day. Voters must wear face masks and go through a temperature check before entry. If the body temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius, a voter will be led to an isolation polling place as part of COVID-19 precautions.

People should proceed to the Voters’ Assistance Desk to know their precinct assignment and sequence number. Upon reaching the classroom or voting place, hands must be sanitized. After checking one’s identity, a voter is given a ballot, marking pen, and a ballot secrecy folder to use.

Senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and pregnant women will be led to an emergency accessible polling place, where they will cast their ballots without climbing a set of stairs.

A one-meter physical distancing and other minimum health protocols must be observed at all times. A limited number of voters may vote at a time, depending on the size of the classroom or voting area. The ballots are then fed to the vote counting machine.

COVID-19 marshals will be on standby while regular disinfection of shared marking pens and waiting areas will be carried out on election day, according to Comelec.

Precincts will close at 7 p.m. but may be extended if there are still voters waiting to vote.