MANILA, Philippines – The Malacanang Palace announced on Tuesday that eating in canteens and consuming cigarettes in smoking areas are prohibited. This is due to the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained the new health protocols during the MECQ in a press conference.
Roque clarified that employees are not allowed to purchase outside food. Albeit, they should bring packed meals or have them delivered.
In the press briefing, they also clarified that smoking is prohibited in public places. However, authorities allow “individual smoking areas or booths in open spaces.”
Earlier, the government declared MECQ over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Bantangas.
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These new protocols came after the COVID-19 task force singled out that workplace areas are the hotspots for transmission.
The chief implementer of COVID-19 response Secretary Carlito Galvez stated that they are now looking for the reason behind the spike of transmission.
“We’re looking at the reasons why we have this kind of spikes and we saw that mass transport, shuttle buses and common areas where workers eat are very vulnerable,” Galvez said.
Certain activities are prohibited in workplaces
Some of the workplace protocols include companies having to provide shuttle services for their employees. In addition, removal of face masks in shuttle services are also prohibited.
More so, employees who are inside a room with more than one person are supposed to wear face shields.
The spokesperson also told companies that they should designate a health protocol officer. In addition occupational safety and health protocol teams should also be formed to ensure obedience of quarantine measures.
Authorities also added other protocols like frequent hand washing, disinfecting different areas, and checking of temperature.
COVID-19 cases in the country have grown exponentially after the administration relaxed quarantine measures in June. The said was done in order to “restart” the country’s economy.