The Trade and Labor departments have issued supplemental guidelines aimed at minimizing the transmission of the coronavirus in the workplace.
“If we strictly follow these guidelines per person, per company, per city, the health numbers improve. But it is very important to keep the discipline because if we don’t, the numbers will go up again,” Trade secretary Ramon Lopez said.
He says the Joint Memorandum Circular or JMC guidelines are a crucial part of the reopening of businesses while the government continues the task of balancing health concerns and the economy.
He says the two departments will also continue to impose stricter protocols for the protection of workers.
Among the JMC provisions is that enjoining the large and medium-size private companies to offer shuttle services and the establishment of temporary isolation facilities for symptomatic employees.
Large and medium-size private establishments are classified as those with assets above P15 million.
The guidelines allow the removal of face shields if one is not interacting with colleagues or customers, or when the demands of occupational safety and the health of employees require no face shield.
Dining in canteen areas have also been prohibited except if there is strict compliance with the one-meter physical distancing, and if there are provisions of physical barriers.
Lopez says these provisions are meant to further lower the transmission of the coronavirus as workers have been reported to interact with their fellow employees without face masks.
Designated smoking areas will also be provided with individual booths. The JMC also requires the testing for symptomatic employees and the close contacts of positive cases.
But Lopez said neither rapid testing nor PCR tests are required or recommended for asymptomatic workers to be able to return to work.
“Our constant reminder to our fellow citizens is for their increased consciousness and awareness in order to strengthen the compliance with the workplace prevention protocols,” Lopez said.