Business groups to IATF: Exempt workers from wearing face shields
MANILA, Philippines — Business groups are asking the government’s task force against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to exempt workers from the wearing of face shields in their workplaces, arguing that the protective gear affects productivity.
In a letter dated Sept. 21 addressed to Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) co-chairperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the business groups said that it “respectfully takes the exception of wearing face shields in offices and factories.
The letter was sent by the president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon, Philippine Silkroad International Chamber of Commerce chairman Francis Chua, Employers Confederation of the Philippines chairman Edgardo Lacson and Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr.
“We respectfully take exception to the wearing of face shields inside the office and factories for the rest of our employees, since this can adversely affect their vision, physical safety, and productivity,” the groups said.
“Please note that the situation in the workplace is not the same as on the streets, since office movements are controlled and guided by the safety and health protocols such as temperature checking, washing of hands and sanitizing footwear,” the groups added.
It was Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III who said that employees now need to wear face shields in their workplaces to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Aside from wearing face shields, the group also raised that the mandatory isolation rooms for every 200 employees “pose major issues.”
“First, there is the problem of space on where to locate these rooms. Second, why is the government passing the responsibility to the private sector when obviously we are not competent to handle this?” the group asked.
The group also said that it hopes that the IATF will “seriously consider” relaxing rules for non-essential sectors, including non-contact sports activities.
“One good example of these are golf clubs which are very, very low risk, considering that games are played in open spaces. Restrictions on the use of locker rooms and in-house restaurants and gatherings such as awarding ceremonies are understandable and easily complied with by all clubs,” the group said.
“But what is beyond the comprehension of members is the 50 percent restriction on tournaments. As the Chairman is aware, by their nature, the games observe physical distancing because of the rule on the arranged progression of 18 holes,” the groups added.
Should these facilities be allowed to open, some 30,000 to 50,000 will be able to go back to work.
“We remain confident that we can balance our health and economic objectives as we strictly adhere to the relevant safety protocols. Towards this objective, we will appreciate if the IATF can consider our recommendations.”
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