Now that ECQ is now lifted in most cities, more employees and employers have been returning to work amidst the crisis to make up for the past few months without income. For some, this return-to-work situation has been proving difficult, especially with the lack of mass transportation options available to the public. Despite the looming difficulties the “New Normal” brings, most have learned to adapt with the demands of everyday life, if only to weather out the storm.
Though the number of cases has been steadily rising in the country, the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) issued a resolution stating that in no case shall testing be a condition for return to work. However, employers may still opt to test employees despite having no symptoms through representative samples at the expense of the employer. Here are some tips for those returning to work or for employers thinking of re-opening their businesses again:
For those seeking to return to work as soon as possible, those with symptoms of the virus are advised to get tested immediately, and to take advantage of any tests that their employers wish to carry out.
If an employee is tested positive for COVID-19, he will be isolated and referred to the appropriate agencies or facilities to prevent the spread of the virus within the workplace.
With most restrictions being lifted together with the ECQ, such as the inter-city checkpoints and the temporary ban on some of the mass transportation systems, those returning to work are still required to wear masks at all times, failing in which the violator may be apprehended for violating community guidelines.
Everyone is expected to practice social distancing in their commute, especially in major transportation systems such as the MRT or the inter-city bus lines. In fact, most employees returning to work have opted to travel to work through the use of bikes, scooters, or other alternative modes of transportation. Though the MMDA is yet to place safe bike lanes throughout the major highways, development in this area has been readily speeded up due to the non-viability of other regular modes of transportation.
It goes without saying that those returning to work must always have with them portable sanitizers and alcohol to disinfect any surfaces they come in contact with, especially when such surfaces are located in highly public places.
When workplaces and public places do not have the necessary hygienic requirements such as hand soap, alcohol, or disinfectants, it is imperative that everyone has their own means of disinfecting their hands.
With the development of a vaccine to against COVID-19 yet to come into the forefront of this pandemic, it seems as if the “New Normal” and the rise of cases in the Philippines depends on the adaptability and capability of both the individual person and the healthcare system to curb the spread of the virus in everyday life. With better preparedness, everyone will have a better chance of surviving.