A few days ago, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) clarified that a face mask is not required if only one person, the driver, is present inside a vehicle. Apparently, though, many people may have missed this as we are still being asked when a mask is necessary while behind the wheel.
Now, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Health (DOH) are ending the confusion once and for all: No, a mask is not necessary as long as you, the driver, are alone inside your vehicle. You will not be apprehended and you will not be fined.
The two agencies issued this clarification in a joint statement. Look:
Mask-related guidlines and inclusive fines for drivers during the pandemic
Basically, there are two things you need to keep in mind regarding the use of face masks inside cars:
- When traveling alone, the driver may remove his or her face mask.
- When the driver is with passengers, it is mandatory for all individuals inside the vehicle to properly wear a face mask, regardless if they are from the same household.
If you’re caught on the road disregarding the latter, you will be fined P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second, and P5,000 plus a one-year suspension of your driver’s license for the third. Public-utility vehicles, meanwhile, will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second, and P15,000 plus a one-year license suspension for the third.
Those are pretty stiff penalties—more so when you consider how rough the economy has been the past several months.
Again: Alone in a car? No need for a face mask. Carrying passengers? All of you need to wear one. Frankly, we don’t think it can be any clearer than that. Spread the word and stay safe out there.