STARTING Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, all workers will be required to wear face shields aside from face masks when inside their workplaces.
Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued the order to further protect workers from getting sick with Covid-19.
Bello said workers who refuse to follow this measure will not be allowed to enter their workplaces, while employers who fail to implement the policy will face administrative sanctions.
Luchel Taniza, Dole 7 spokesperson, said they are now in the process of securing guidelines on the implementation of Bello’s
However, even without guidelines, Taniza said Dole 7 will implement the policy beginning Saturday “to be consistent with the pronouncement of the Secretary.”
Cebu business leaders support Dole's move but called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to push for the local mass production of face shields to make them more affordable to enterprises that are already struggling to survive.
The Department of Health (DOH) suggested retail price for face shields is between P26 and P50.
"We have seen much improvement in lowering of the cases and health care is loosening up lately. If the authorities deem it proper and a must, then we will be asking everyone to support it for a safe Cebu," Felix Taguiam, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, told SunStar Cebu.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu affirmed the effectiveness of face shields against the airborne coronavirus.
"With our public transportation situation, it can be a viable tool to avoid transmission. Besides, a face shield can easily be made or customized. It should cost only P50 and the investment will be worth it," he said.
Yu said the DTI should encourage micro enterprises to manufacture face shields to ensure there is enough affordable supply.
"Otherwise, they have to give us an extended deadline before it becomes mandatory,” Yu said.
“Some traders are starting to hoard now, so it’s better that Aug. 15 is extended. This will also help arrest the increasing prices of face shields, and lessen the burden of employers who are already struggling to survive," Yu added.
The DOH has said non-medical grade face shields should have specifications such as: clear plastic or acetate material, good visibility, fog resistant, adjustable band to attach firmly around the head, snug fit against the forehead, and full face coverage.
The face shield must also be made of robust material that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
To account for the distribution cost for Visayas and Mindanao areas, the DOH said a 10 percent allowable variation to the SRP may be added.
DTI 7 Consumer Protection Division chief Ines Cajegas told SunStar Cebu they have been monitoring the price and supply situation in all provinces of Central Visayas.
"We are promoting DIY (Do it Yourself) face shields to unburden the public of buying face shields," she said.
Asked if there were instances of overpricing, Cajegas said they have to consider the many variants of non-medical face shields in the market ranging from P28 to P349.75.
“Since there are many choices of face shields available in the market, consumers should exercise their choice depending on their needs," she said.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) warned establishments in Cebu City they could face closure if found to have violated quarantine protocol.
The Cebu City government is currently investigating two such establishments.
Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, Cebu IATF deputy chief implementer, said business establishments must coordinate with the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) should there be a need to isolate their staff or put the building on lockdown.
Business Processing and Licensing Office (BPLO) head Jared Limquiaco said his office is investigating a BPO company located along Archbishop Reyes Ave. for reportedly allowing one of its employees, suspected to have Covid-19, to go home to Barangay Talamban.
The employee tested positive for Covid-19 days later.
A hotel in Barangay Capitol Site is also being investigated for taking in guests for isolation even though it has not yet secured DOH accreditation as an official isolation facility.
The hotel has been put on lockdown while the four patients with Covid-19 staying there were extracted and moved to an isolation facility.
Feliciano hopes this will serve as a message to other establishments that the City Government and the EOC will go after them should they violate any of the quarantine rules.
Under Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s Executive Order 86, no hotels are allowed to operate except those accommodating qualified guests.
Qualified guests are defined as those with long-term accommodations, foreigners with existing bookings since May 1, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) or stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals, repatriated OFWs, non-OFWs who are required to undergo mandatory quarantine, and healthcare workers and other workers of permitted establishments. / HBL, JJL