The term ‘new normal’ has been thrown around a lot amid the COVID-19 crisis—it’s what’s expected to happen after this pandemic. It’s a world where measures such as social distancing will be nothing out of the ordinary, even after we’ve contained the coronavirus outbreak.
This very situation is what House Bill No. 6623 seeks to achieve. Also called the New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020, the bill mandates several safety measures once quarantine restrictions are lifted. This includes the mandatory wearing of face masks in public spaces and workplaces, and social distancing of at least one to two meters between individuals. The bill also requires temperature checks prior to entry to all enclosed and semi-enclosed areas, as well as open areas where two or more people will gather.
The same guidelines apply for many other sectors, including transportation. All public utility vehicles as well as transport stations and terminals—including airports and harbors—must comply with the imposed safety measures. Meanwhile, motorcycle taxis will remain suspended to properly enforce social distancing.
In addition, the bill seeks to establish green lanes along public roads to accommodate vehicles transporting healthcare workers (emergency situations included), essential goods and equipment, and other critical services.
Other salient points of the House bill cover workplace-related protocols, the fast-tracking of the national ID and broadband programs, and mandatory measures to be taken by the education sector.
If the bill is signed into law, it will take effect for three years or shorter. The latter will occur in the event that the president, the World Health Organization, and the international medical community declare that a viable vaccine has already contained or eliminated the threat of COVID-19 prior to the law’s expiry.
We’ll bring you more updates on this proposed bill as we have it. For now, let us know in the comments what you think of this new initiative from Congress.