Firms encouraged to have returning workers tested

Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City government is encouraging companies in the city to test for COVID-19 employees who are returning to work during the general community quarantine.

“To control the spread and minimize transmission of the virus, it is strongly encouraged that all employers subject their working employees or a sampling thereof to Rapid Anti-body Diagnostic Testing and/or Confirmatory RT-PCR Testing for COVID-19 following the guidelines under DOH Memorandum Order No. 2020-0220," reads Executive Order No. 79 Mayor Edgardo Labella issued on Sunday.

In a live press conference yesterday, City Legal Officer Rey Gealon said the testing is not mandatory, but is encouraged, for companies and the city government to know the state of the workers and to immediately take precautionary measures.

Gealon said in cases when a worker tests positive for COVID-19, the business establishment shall suspend operations immediately and implement containment and disinfection protocols.

Employees who were exposed to the employee who tested positive will also need to be tested at the expense of the employer.

Later on, the business should secure clearance from the City Health Department (CHD) and the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) before it can resume operation.

Gealon said businesses allowed to operate are required to fill out a Business Monitoring Form (BMF) and submit the employee information, Statement of Management Responsibility for Maintaining Workplace Health Standards, and Workplace Health Contingency Plan.

Per E.O. 79, the BMF, as well as sample forms can be downloaded, filled out, and submitted online via

This must be accomplished on or before June 5, 2020.

Meanwhile, Gealon said all business establishments and the general public are advised to follow the minimum public health standards.

These include the mandatory wearing of masks in public places and workplaces; health symptoms questionnaire to be accomplished by all employees and submitted to the guard or designated safety officer prior to entry; and availability of handwashing/sanitizing stations in places frequented by the public, among others.

"These are the minimum health standards under the new normal," Gealon said.

Under the GCQ, there will be more businesses that will reopen.

Essential industries like health care, pharmacies, veterinary clinics, food manufacturing and supply chains, and groceries can operate at full capacity.

Media establishments, producers of cement and steel, BPO and export-oriented establishments that can operate off-site, mining and quarrying, e-commerce, postal and e-delivery services, rental and leasing of vehicles and equipment for permitted sectors, recruitment for permitted sectors, repair of computers, personal and household goods, and housing services can operate between 50 percent to full operational capacity.

Other industries and establishments can operate at 50 percent capacity like beverage makers, real estate, advertising, film and music production, clothing stores, bookstores, baby supplies stores, flower shops, and jewelry shops.

The businesses prohibited to operate during the GCQ are gyms, entertainment establishments, internet cafes, libraries, tourist destinations, and personal care services, among others. JMO (FREEMAN)

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