Philippines: Workplace under MECQ? Gov’t prohibits dining in canteens, common smoking areas

11 August 2020

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News:

MANILA — Eating in canteens and smoking in common areas are prohibited in workplaces in modified enhanced community quarantine areas, Malacañang said Tuesday.

The prohibition comes as the government revised health protocols after it found that spots of convergence in workplaces such as canteens and smoking areas were found to be sources of “great contamination” with COVID-19. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said companies would be required to have a health protocol officer, and an occupational safety and health protocol committee to strictly implement minimum health standards.

Companies are also tasked to train their workers on the new health protocols.

Other health protocols in the workplace set by the Department of Trade and Industry are:

– Provision of shuttle services to workers
– The strict wearing of face mask and face shield in the shuttle
– No dine-in at canteens; Meals limited to packed food and delivery
– No common smoking areas; Only individual smoking areas or booths in open spaces are allowed
– Observance of minimum health standards such as physical distancing and the wearing of face masks
– Frequent handwashing and disinfection in the workplace
– Temperature check for employees and office visitors

The Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and local government units will conduct company visits and audits, Roque said.

Areas that are under MECQ until Aug. 18 are Metro Manila, and neighboring provinces Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal.