New normal: Minimum health standards, WFH pushed

Updated: Jan 23, 2021


Physical distancing is the new normal in grocery stores and supermarkets. (Ventures Cebu photo)



The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for the adoption of minimum health standards as the new normal in workplaces in the post-quarantine scenario.


Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez also said work-from-home (WFH) arrangements should continue, where possible, to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


He added that the rise of the e-commerce industry and delivery models should be further enhanced even after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.


An ECQ is still in effect over the entire Cebu province, the entire Luzon island and other cities and provinces across the country. In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella has extended the quarantine until May 15, 2020.


Lopez said business establishments should follow the best hygiene and health measures practiced among export companies.


These measures include:


  • Strict social distancing (while the World Health Organization said a distance of one meter between two individuals would do, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the distance should be at least 6 feet or nearly 2 meters);

  • Wearing of face masks;

  • Establishment of sanitation stations;

  • Body temperature checks; and

  • Provision of vitamins.


He also noted that export companies have provided its employees near-site accommodation and shuttle services; distributed face masks and digital thermometers to employees at no cost; and set up ambulances, isolation tents, and clinics in their facilities.


Lopez said these measures must be exercised in order to minimize the health risk among workers as essential enterprises conduct their operations.

He said other sectors should also implement these measures once they are allowed to resume operations.


“We need to have a new way of doing business to ensure that our significant gains during the ECQ and the collective efforts in flattening the curve will not be put to waste once ECQ is fully lifted,” the Trade secretary said.

“It is accepted that health takes primacy over the economy, but there is no dichotomy between the two if we take precautionary health measures when we do business and work with other people to minimize any health risk in a post-ECQ environment,” Lopez added. (Ventures Cebu)

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