What You Need to Know as Areas Shift from ECQ to GCQ

We know you got used to your late-night k-drama marathons when you familiarized yourself to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) regulations. We can’t blame you, though—we can’t go outside, after all. Getting all cozy with a cup of coffee and a new drama to binge-watch is really tempting, but as citizens of the same country, we ought to uphold our failing economy, too. Unfortunately, this pandemic has not only rummaged through the systems and norms we had been accustomed to before—it has also fractured our economy. 

So, despite the increasing number of people infected with COVID-19, the government finally decided to let workers go outside their homes to continue their businesses and jobs, hopefully mending the damaged economy.

Confused about the differences of the two? Here’s a quick rundown for you:

ECQ Guidelines Recap:

  • No work, no pay, except those who can work remotely.
  • Physical classes, conventions, gatherings, and meet-ups are prohibited.
  • People below 21 and above 60 years old, pregnant women, and those with further health problems are not allowed to go outside for leisure, including any person who resides with them
  • Essential industries (food and healthcare) are allowed to operate, but workforce must be cut down to 50% unless DTI permits a temporary increase
  • Logistic, BPO, industrial, construction, and airline companies are also allowed to operate
  • Maximum public health standards and curfew regulations are strictly imposed
  • Strict checkpoints are installed to oversee bypasses and travel histories.

GCQ Guidelines Brief Takeaways:

  • Minimum public health standards are imposed
  • Movements are still regulated, but not totally forbidden. Here are some pointers to remember:
    • Work for almost every offices and industries are allowed
    • Access to essential goods and services are allowed
    • Travel for leisure and entertainment are prohibited
  • People are still encouraged to stay at home; and
  • Employees can return to work whenever they want to.

Zooming in on the heavily impacted working industry, offices are allowed to operate, but with (really) extreme caution. Learned from the recurring lockdown implementations, Roque pointed out in a press briefing, “If we really want them (the public) to stay home, remove public transport.” 

Sounds ironic, right? Even our own economy screams otherwise. Metro Manila, a contributor of more than a third of the country’s economy, and other provinces which contribute greatly as well, will continue to plunge down if businesses are shut down.

Allowing people to go outside is a huge decision for the government to make. So, to uphold the economy’s sustenance, GCQ was imposed. Below are guidelines to heed from DTI and DOLE—this will apply both to employees and employers.

Gist of DTI-DOLE Guidelines in Curbing COVID-19 in the Workplace

  1. Workers from private and public sectors are urged to practice social distancing and proper hygiene for the welfare of themselves and their co-workers. 
  2. Strict compliance with workplace measures on prevention and control of COVID-19 is required. 
  3. For employers, ensure that equipment, assets, and vehicles are regularly disinfected and sanitized. Washrooms and toilets should have clean water and germicidal soap to keep employees safe. Sanitizers must also be placed around the corridors, conference areas, elevators, stairways, and other convergence areas. 

As working folks return to their jobs, it is the duty of employers to provide policies and guidelines integral to curbing COVID-19’s spread. It’s their job to provide assistance the employee requests, too. In the same manner, employees are also accountable in maintaining their own health. Teamwork is necessary to protect lots of people. Want the complete, comprehensive copy of DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19? Visit here.And no, just because we shifted from ECQ to GCQ doesn’t mean it’s okay to roam freely outside. Let’s practice healthy, law-compliant norms and encourage others to do the same. By doing so, we’re helping our frontliners in this pandemic fight. For the latest information regarding the pandemic, visit COVID-19 PH.


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