Health, safety measures now mandated by House-approved bill

The House of Representatives on Monday voted unanimously to pass on third and final reading a bill that would make several health and safety measures mandatory in all parts of the country.      

All 245 congressmen present during the virtual regular session approved the measure that will make mandatory the wearing of face masks in public areas and work places and the observance of physical and social distancing.      

Temperature checking of persons entering a business establishment, government building, workplaces and other enclosed public areas will be mandatory.      

House Bill 6864 or the Better  Normal for the Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020 was authored by House officials led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.      

HB 6864 also proposes a number of measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID 19 and protect citizens from infection of the dreaded disease.     

For their part, owners, managers and administrators of public spaces and work areas will set up hand-washing facilities and sanitizing stations, aside from ensuring temperature checks for all persons entering the premises.      

A one-meter physical distancing between individuals will also be mandatory in public areas.      

The bill also seeks to promote “contact-less” payment schemes in public transportation.       

On the other hand, the Department of Education is tasked to development, implement and promote a learning program that will be flexible in order to protect teachers and students.     

HB 6864 proposes to impose imprisonment of one to two months and fines ranging from P1,000 to P50,000 or both on violators.   

Stiffer penalties await government officials and employees found guilty of violating provisions of the bill.  They face two to six months imprisonment and fines ranging from P65,000 to P100,000 or both.