With the country’s recent shift towards General Community Quarantine (GCQ), business establishments have been preparing for the re-opening of their establishments. Adjustments have had to be made in order to cope with the realities of the “new normal” while the world is still on its way to finding a cure for COVID-19.
Despite all the challenges, business goes on as usual for those who continue to serve their customers with utmost dedication and perseverance, while having to comply with the new guidelines issued by the government. It is often the private sector and small businesses that continue to provide quality services to customers in need of adequate avenues of goods and services that these businesses can provide.
In line with its mandate to protect and alleviate the potential spread of COVID-19, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have issued the latest guidelines and minimum health protocols to be complied with under the “new normal.” The latest guidelines may be accessed here: https://www.dti.gov.ph/covid19/issuances/.
More and more businesses have been allowed to open amidst the pandemic as long as safety protocols are complied with. These safety protocols are implemented to ensure the safety and health of both the workers and the customers, especially since the toll of the number of cases of COVID-19 within the country has been steadily increasing. The DTI-issued guidelines apply to all workplaces, employers and workers in the private sector, wherein business establishments may be subject to random inspections to ensure compliance with the minimum health standards put in place.
Some of the guidelines include the posting of health-related signages that remind customers to wear face masks at all times, in accordance with the government’s mandate, as well as to practice social distancing of at least one (1) meter between two persons. Likewise, business establishments are now required to place a floor mat or bath with disinfectant at the entrance of their business establishments. For those that tend to have queues, said establishments must have a Roving Officer to ensure the compliance with the minimum social distancing of one (1) meter between persons.
Business establishments must also install numerous equipment such as barriers between the customers and the employees to prevent the potential transmission of the virus from the customers to the employees, and to employ methods to ensure the least physical contact possible.
For food establishments, for example, methods must be implemented in order to cope with contactless order-taking. The guidelines also provide for the system which must be followed during dine-ins and take-outs, where social distancing must strictly be observed among customers and between the staff and customers.
Compliance with these minimum guidelines are essential for Food SMEs to continue operating under the “new normal.” Despite these numerous adjustments that must be made, the safety of both the business and its customers are of utmost concern. The cooperation of both will hopefully get the economy back on track, albeit gradually.