Lawmakers define ‘new normal’ in filed bill

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House representatives filed the “new normal” bill, which outlines the policies and regulations for the workplaces and public spaces after the quarantine is lifted.

Under House Bill No. 6623 or “The New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020” aims to institutionalize mandatory safety measures once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

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“This bill will prepare and educate the Filipino public for life after (the) lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and to adapt to the new norms of physical distancing. It institutionalizes a new way of life after the enhanced community quarantine and serves as a guide to the public,” House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said.

“Guided foremost by the principles of protecting the most vulnerable, ensuring health and safety for all, guaranteeing respect for human rights, and facilitating the inclusive and holistic economic well-being of all sectors and industries, this proposed bill envisions a whole-of-society approach in ushering a hopeful yet well-planned path towards ‘the new normal,’” the bill states.

Also read: Lacson sees no lifting of ECQ before June

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Guide to the ‘new normal’ bill after quarantine

Public transportation

  • Mandatory safety measures shall be imposed on queuing and ticketing lines, as well as the interiors of vehicles and their respective passengers, drivers, and conductors.
  • Motorcycle operations remain suspended
  • Green lanes shall be established along roads, avenues, highways, and other transport infrastructure networks for health care, emergency, peace and order, and supply-chain vehicles transporting essential individuals, goods, equipment, and other critical services.
  • Special measures for airports, ports, and harbors shall include the establishment of public health corridors; the mandatory taking of body temperature for all arriving and departing passengers; mandatory quarantine of all arriving passengers; thorough sanitizing and disinfection of all arriving and departing vessels; and if possible, regular testing of employees attached to vessels and rapid testing of passengers.

Workplace-specific protocols and measures

  • Foodservice workplaces could reopen but for take-out or delivery service only and can gradually re-introduce dine-ins.
  • When dine-in service resumes, two-meter distances between tables should be created. Disposable menu booklets and cutlery should be provided, and contactless service for dine-in patrons should be promoted.
  • Commercial stores and centers shall establish a maximum number of people inside, promote online transactions and shopping services, and implement cashless or contactless sales and customer service.
  • A limited number of people in the elevator, markers to create visual boundaries for physical and social distancing, and discourage physical meetings.
  • Salons, parlors, and spas should observe frequent hand washing and sanitizing of salon tools, mandatory use of face masks and gloves, and apply best cleaning and disinfection practices in the facility.
  • Construction sites, factories, and industrial workplaces should adjust on-site and production schedules, provide mechanisms for work-site mobility and transportation, limit the use of co-workers’ tools and equipment, and implement individualized shifts for the equipment.

Education

  • All classes and school activities remain suspended until further notice without prejudice to academic freedom and levels of autonomy enjoyed by institutions of higher learning in the governance of their academic affairs.
  • No student shall be unreasonably penalized for his/her inability to participate in online means of education due to issues in connectivity or availability of gadgets or equipment.
  • Schools, colleges, and universities must integrate online classes in the curriculum and promote creative ways of student learning and engagement without physical contact and/or reporting to the classroom.
  • Staggered school days and smaller class sizes if and when on-site classes resume should be provided.
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