Are You Ready To Operate on June 1, 2020?
Today, the President officially announced that from June 1, NCR, Davao City, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, and Albay, will now enter General Community Quarantine (GCQ). The other regions of the country will be under Modified GCQ, which is a looser version of GCQ.
Limited Transportation Under GCQ
Under GCQ, public transport will open albeit a limited capacity. The only ones that are allowed to operate are the MRT, LRT, private shuttles, taxis, Grab Car, tricycles, bicycles, and P2P buses. As of today, buses and jeeps are still not allowed to operate under GCQ. This means unless the government changes its policy, the first few days of GCQ will be on a total shit show for one plain reason — Bottlenecks:
Image Source: DSport
Ever see a bottle neck? This is what it looks like. Everyone will be crowding to find public transport to get to where they want to be. But given the limited number of public transport available, it’s going to be a mess of epic proportions.
The best way is to do GCQ and allow buses and jeeps to operate, albeit on an organized manner following strict social distancing protocol. Help the buses and jeeps practice Social Distancing by placing No Sitting Stickers on the seats.Jonathan Lee for a minimum of 4 pieces. Stick them on the seats you want unoccupied. Then ensure that the MMDA checks that these seats with stickers remain unoccupied.
But I digress…. I am not the government. If I am to wait for them to screw up first then learn that banning jeeps and buses are really not a great way to practice social distancing, so be it.
Instead, this post is more for useful things. Like how do you prepare your business when opening for GCQ. Are you sure you are ready? Here’s a simple checklist to prepare your workplace for GCQ:
- Read the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 very carefully.
- Call your local barangay and city hall and to check that your company fulfills all LGU requirements so you can operate in peace.
- Make sure that all your staff are covered by SSS and Philhealth.
- To ensure social distancing, a 1-meter radius space must be maintained between workers.
- If you are going to do Flexible-Work Arrangement or WFH for some/all of your staff, make sure you inform DOLE seven (7) days BEFORE the start of the FWA
- Print the Visitor’s Health Questionnaire and Have Every Employee Visitor Answer It. Make sure you submit to DOLE the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form every month.
- Buy an Infrared Thermometer and Check Every Guest’s Temperature upon Entering the Office.
- Employer has to provide staff with face masks, soap, and other equipment needed to keep the workplace safe. DO NOT CHARGE for them.
- Disinfect the Office Regularly.
- Know and Follow the Health Protocols When One of Your Staff is a Suspected COVID-19 Patient.
Here are 10 Things You Must Prepare When You Open Your Business for GCQ:
1. Read the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 very carefully.
This will be your bible in operating a company during MECQ, GCQ and MGCQ. It’s only 8 pages and very easy to read. Kindly read carefully all the rules and regulations, and ensure that you follow their rules.
If the company follows all the policies stated in this guidelines, the company can operate without fear of repercussion and will be saved from staff complains that the workplace is unsafe. It won’t — because the company is following all safety protocol.
2. Call your local barangay and city hall and to check that your company fulfills all LGU requirements so you can operate in peace.
Last MECQ, the following NCR municipalities had strict requirements for business to operate. Paranaque insisted on testing all employees before they were allowed to report to work. Caloocan had the following requirements for businesses deciding to open during MECQ:
Just last May 28, a barangay in Pampanga posted the following requirements for a travel pass:
For example, some barangays/municipalities still require a Certificate of Employment and Company ID. So we provided our staff with COE with the company letterhead:
Downloadable Form Here: CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT
3. Make sure that all your staff are covered by SSS and Philhealth ASAP.
The law is clear — Hospitalization benefits will be borne by the SSS and Philhealth PROVIDED that the worker has existing SSS and Philhealth. In the event that the staff is not covered by SSS and Philhealth, the employer must “shoulder all medical services until full recovery.”
Source: Labor Advisory No. 4
The coverage they will get are as follows:
If I were you, I would definitely enroll all your staff to SSS and Philhealth if you don’t have any yet. Deadline for SSS is on June 1, 2020:
4. To ensure social distancing, a 1-meter radius space must be maintained between workers.
Even as employees work, eat, and interact together, a 1-meter radius space should be maintained between each worker. This is stated very clear in the DOLE DTI Health Guidelines as follows:
The problem is, our office is tight. At full capacity, the office is full. Everyone is seated right next to each other, happily chitchatting and working together. Unfortunately, the DOLE guidelines request that businesses operate at 50% capacity to ensure proper social distacing and COVID-19 prevention.
Because of this, we are forced to cut everybody’s work days by half so that at any given time, only 50% of the workforce can come in and everyone has one seat apart in between each other:
Image Source: Spot PH
We have also bought Social Distancing Stickers (12″ x 12″) to ensure that everyone stays in their place and nobody sits together. For your reference, I got ours from my good friend Jonathan Lee for Php 90.00:
- Team A: Comes in on M, W, F
- Team B: Comes in on T, TH, Sun
We have halved Saturday into two by ensuring that Team A reports in the office in the morning before going out on field in the afternoon. Team B goes out on field in the morning and reports in the afternoon. This ensures that the office is operating at 50% capacity at all times. We are working on Sunday to ensure that every one of our staff get to come in at 4 days a week, instead of 6. We have applied to do a Flexible-Work Arrangement with DOLE to ensure that this is possible.
5. If you are going to do Flexible-Work Arrangement or WFH for some/all of your staff, make sure you inform DOLE seven (7) days BEFORE the start of the FWA:
According to DOLE Labor Advisory No. 17 Series of 2020, Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon Resumption of Business Operation, WFH, Telecommuting Arrangements and/or Flexible Work Arrangements are options you can select for your company to preserve jobs:
Here are the other FWA arrangements a company can consider and how DOLE defines them:
The only condition is that if you’re going to do an FWA, you need to fill up the 1) Establishment Report on COVID-19, 2) Submit it to closest DOLE Regional Office which has jurisdiction over the workplace as soon as possible, and 3) Post a Copy of Labor Advisory No. 9, Series of 2020 in a visible area in the workplace.
To submit the Establishment Report on COVID-19, you can initially do it first via email, but you have to follow it up with two (2) sets of hard copy that needs to be stamped in the DOLE offices. Do so within seven (7) days as per instruction:
The Establishment Report on COVID-19 looks like this. Yes, it’s the same form we submitted to DOLE for DOLE CAMP:
Download the Word Version ER-COVID19-Monitoring-Form HERE.
Make sure you print two hard copies and have it stamped at the DOLE branch closest your office.
Finally, make sure you print a copy and post this 2-page Labor Advisory No. 9, Series of 2020: Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure due to the Ongoin Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a conspicuous location in workplace:
6. Print the Visitor’s Health Questionnaire and Have Every Employee Visitor Answer It. Make sure you submit to DOLE the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form every month.
This is our questionnaire — It has the EXACT same questions (with a little additions) to the questionnaire DOLE provided. I changed the format to two in a page to save paper and printing costs. Feel free to edit or print this questionnaire for your own use. However, if you will edit it to share to others, please credit me.
Visitor’s Health Checklist
For our printing needs, we use this supplier. They are a small business, and I find their rates to be reasonable. It’s better than using the office printer to print hundreds of questionnaires:
Make sure you copy furnish DOLE a monthly report using the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form.
7. Buy an Infrared Thermometer and Check Every Guest’s Temperature upon Entering the Office.
Following this rule from the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19, all employers and workers shall have their temperature checked and recorded in the health symptoms questionnaire:
For practical reasons, we bought our Infrared Thermometers from Lazada (Php 1,390) from Lazada. Market price for thermometers cost at least Php 2,500. Our thermometer works very well but takes 2 weeks to ship from China to Manila:
Here’s the protocol for temperature testing:
As an added bonus, we will ask the staff to fill up the Daily Temperature Check Form so that our office has a good summary of the staff’s temperature per day. Here’s our form to share:
Downloadable PDF: Temperature Health Check – General
If your staff has a fever, please do not ask your staff to report to work. Be very conscious of this rule. If the staff is sick, have him stay at home. But make sure to ask him to submit a medical certificate to ensure that
8. Employer has to provide staff with face masks, soap, and other equipment needed to keep the workplace safe. DO NOT CHARGE for them.
The guidelines are pretty lenient about where you source your COVID-19 prevention materials.
If you have an agency, it is the principal who must be charged this expense, NOT the agency or the contractor. While it is up to you to source and buy the materials, if you you do buy it for them, you are NOT allowed to charge your staff for these:
9. Disinfect the Room Regularly.
The rules require regular disinfecting of the room, the door knob and handles, and to ensure that sanitizers are available where workers pass.
We bought our disinfectants from NUDE Handmade Essentials. Mind you, we are NOT affiliated with them, but I found their bleach to be reasonably priced especially since I could not get any from Lazada as it was out of stock. We also bought from them hand soap, alcohol and spray bottle for our stores’ use:
The cheapest quotation I got for misting was from our building’s pest control team. They were charging us Php 1,500 inclusive of VAT for a one-time misting of disinfectant. We are thinking of doing this once a week just to see if it’s effective:
10. Lastly, Follow Strict Health Protocols when You Have a Suspected COVID-19 Patient
Please be aware of the following protocol when one of your staff is a suspected COVID-19 patient:
You have to isolate them in a well-ventilated place. A clinic personnel must be there wearing appropriate PPE and will transport the person to the nearest hospital. The hospital will report to DOH that you have a COVID-19 patient.
If positive, everyone present that day shall be placed on 14 day observation and quarantine. If it’s negative, everyone may be allowed to go back to work:
If you are mindful of all these things and follow the minimum health guidelines, congratulations! You can now operate your business during GCQ:
In general, here’s the things we bought for our company. Mind you, we are also customers ha. We bought our stuff at full price. But I felt that the prices were reasonable and many of them are small businesses, which is why I am sharing these with you:
Thanks for reading. And if I missed anything, please let me know. Good luck to all of us on June 1, 2020!