The Quezon City government will implement stricter implementation of health safety protocols in workplaces following the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ), according to new guidelines issued by Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“Hindi tayo puwedeng maging kampante kahit ibinalik na tayo sa GCQ dahil nandiyan pa rin ang banta ng virus at kailangan pa rin ng dobleng pag-iingat,” said Belmonte.

Under the new guidelines, companies that are allowed to operate under GCQ are mandated to enforce stricter health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among employees.

Employers are now required to subject their workers to regular health screening as supervised by each establishment’s mandatory Health Safety Officer, and immediately report any suspect or confirmed COVID-19 cases to the QC Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU).

“If an employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient, then they should be immediately brought to the attention of the CESU,” said Belmonte.

Laboratories, hospitals and disease reporting units are also mandated to immediately inform the CESU about COVID-19 positive patients for quick action and to avoid delays in contact tracing.

Belmonte warned labs and employers against concealing vital information, saying they will be meted sanctions, such as suspension or revocation of business permits and the filing and prosecution of criminal charges under applicable laws.

Whenever feasible, establishments should provide isolation rooms for any persons who are found to have symptoms while in the establishment and are prohibited from sending them back to the communities, until CESU has been informed.

Employees who come in close contact with suspected COVID-19 cases must undergo quarantine and self-monitor for 14 days, to prevent the further spread of the virus in the workplace.

The guidelines also tasked employers to inform close contacts of their exposure to a suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 case.

For easier contact tracing, Belmonte said employees are encouraged to have a daily diary containing names of their close contacts, both inside and outside work, start and end times of contact, places visited and start and end times of visit.

For businesses with 10 or more employees, they are mandated to have a COVID-19 response plan, detailing measures on how to comply with minimum health protocols, and assign a health officer with relevant training.

Frontline employees in all workplaces and public transportation are required to wear face shields, in addition to face masks, for added protection against the virus.

Furthermore, employees must avoid mass gathering in workplaces and in other common areas to avoid COVID-19 transmission.

If feasible, barangays are directed to put up their own quarantine facilities for isolation of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in coordination with the CESU.

Belmonte ordered the city’s regulatory agencies, its law and order cluster, barangays and the Quezon City Police District to strictly enforce the latest guidelines.