Effective COVID-19 Protocols for SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises): Offices, Restaurants, Groceries, and Public Transportation.
Offices during Covid- 19 Pandemic
The increasing number of the deadly Covid-19 has been causing the businesses and government offices to face the crisis in any means and make their offices kept on operating. Some companies and government offices require their employees to Work from Home (WFH), but some companies do not apply to the “new normal,” and require their employees to work on-site.
Employees who are working on-site undergoes swab tests every week and are required to wear a mask and face shield upon entering the establishment.
The workplace should be always the employees’ responsibility to keep it clean.
As for the Business owners, it is mandatory to have their site sanitized and comply with the safety protocols given by the government.
Three ways to save money and Cut off the Expenses in Office
During the pandemic, one major cause that the business owners face the expenses of their utilities and other office equipment and supplies. Here are a few ways to cut off expenses:
Refrain from Travel – such as business trips and business gatherings. Reducing travel does not only protects personnel protected, but it also decreases travel-related expenses.
Remote Work – allows small businesses to continue functions, however, that is not the only advantage of allowing personnel to work from home. It additionally saves companies income because when employees are not in the workplace, the firm can save on utility expenses, maintenance, and other expenses.
Transfer your Sales online rather than printing flyers and brochures, make a post online. it will be more effective, and it will target mass audiences. Since its pandemic, invest in Digital Marketingit is less expensive than printing.
New Normal Protocol of Restaurants in the Philippines
In this challenging times of pandemic, the World Health Organization implemented safety measures on how food businesses can prevent virus contamination. It involves cleaning and sanitation measures, decontaminating surfaces and high touch points, instructing staffs about the virus and how to protect themselves and others and, strengthening protocols such as physical distancing and hand sanitizing.
The Department of Trade and Industry has enforced minimum health protocols for dine-in services of restaurants and fastfood establishments. Some of the mandatory requirements for dine-In services consist of:
- Implementation of Contact Tracing Measures
- Thermal Scanning of all personnel, suppliers and customer prior to entry
- Customers, workers and suppliers with symptoms such as cold, cough and/or difficulty breathing to be politely declined entry.
- No personnel with Covid-19 symptoms or with exposure to COVID-19 patients shall be allowed to report to work.
- STRICT enforcement of the “No Face Mask, No Entry” policy
- Strict observance of social distancing measure in all parts of the establishment, including the cashier counter.
Delivery and take away protocols has been also carried out by the Department of Trade and Industry. It aims to lessen the physical contact of restaurant or fastfood staffs with the consumers. Such protocols includes:
- Mechanism for taking orders through phone calls, emails, or any online mode.
- Implementation of staggered delivery hours for drivers to prevent crowding at dispatch areas.
- Designated pick-up areas outside the establishment properly marked
- Devise innovative procedures in lieu of in-person delivery confirmation
- Ensure proper sanitation of vehicles and compliance by driver and personnel with safety, hygiene, and sanitation protocols.
Protocols for Grocery
Food and other household necessities will not be lost in a daily basis. Due to pandemic, we are limit to take supplies outside to prevent spreading Covid-19. To help protect ourselves, the workers in grocery stores, and other consumers/shoppers the FDA provides a food safety check list for the of everyone. It indicates facility operations, product inspection, ware washing equipment, hand washing stations, and an employee health/ screening. However, small and medium businesses are lack of equipments and financial assistance to meet the standard of Covid-19 protocols that a local government requires for the re-opening of this Retail Food Establishment.
Therefore, this type of establishment provide their best possible way to apply health protocol. For example, “social distancing” protocols measures such as; limiting number of customers in a store at any given time, having a barriers for cashiers, putting safety markings on the store floors to show distance signs and other means to educate customers to keep their distance.
Follow the enforced regulation by the Local Government of wearing a face mask and face shield before entering the grocery stores. In accordance of Mr. Roque, it is an additional protection to avoid surge while we are outside specially, in an inevitable transactions in different people.
And also, one the most important practices is to keep the stores clean by having disinfecting and sanitization.
With this regulation inside the groceries, the small and medium establishment can comply to the standard protocol at the same time minimize transmitting virus to the shopper and employees.
Protocols for Public Transportation
During this pandemic, one of the most affected is the public transportation. In commuting, people tend to be together and there is no distancing at all. But due to COVID 19, people need to do social distancing to prevent the spreading of the virus. The Land Transportation Office (LTO) gave health protocols for the public transportations. Protocols like social distancing, 50% capacity for the vehicles, wearing of face masks and face shields, etc.
Because of these protocols, the income of the drivers and operators are also affected. They need to comply with these protocols with the help of their small incomes. To lessen their expenses and to comply to the protocols set by the LTO, they come up with strategies.
For example, jeepney drivers/operators. They use plastic covers for the barriers, and to lessen the often changing of it, they doubled the plastics. They also do not let in passengers without face masks or face shield because the drivers will shoulder the penalty if they were caught in checkpoints. The penalty is 1,000 pesos, which could be their income for the whole day.
What situation do we look forward to?
As of the moment in time, other countries are already winning the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the current situation of Israel, people there do not have to wear face masks and shields in an open area. They only need those if there is a mass gathering indoors.
Filipinos are hoping that our country will get better soon, as well. They look forward to a time that people are no longer need to worry while having fun with friends and family. The sudden change into the new normal setup of society leaves people behind their traditional lives. In reality, they don’t want to get back to what it used to be, but a new normal where everyone can keep up with.
Authors of Effective COVID-19 Protocols for SMEs:
Charlene Castelo, Jekka Ko, Louela Joy Chica, Ivann Edozo, and Reynalyn Mandeoya
(Effective COVID-19 Protocols for SMEs, Marvill.com)
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