WHICH should be given more weight in this time of Covid pandemic–the labor policy of non- discrimination in the work place or the health protection of customers and co-workers?
The question comes to light as the Cebu City Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has ordered the suspension of the re-operation of resto-bars that have hired unvaccinated service crew and have not secured the special permit to serve liquor.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, said that based on the guidelines of Executive Order 143, resto-bars with open air set-up can serve vaccinated customers at 30 percent capacity but only by a vaccinated service crew.
The vaccinated and the unvaccinated should not be allowed to mix, he said.
Garganera said this provision has been ignored by some resto-bars in Cebu City.
The Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) agree that resto-bars get only vaccinated workers.
VVOC spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche told SunStar Cebu that while the it is true that there is a Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) circular on the “No Vaccine No Work Policy” as a requirement, what the Cebu City EOC is doing “is within its mandate to ensure that all workers and their families including other customers be protected from Covid-19.”
“Resto-bars can be a super spreader event. To at least have some form of control in the way Covid-19 is handled, the vaccines can surely help,” Loreche said.
Requiring workers to get vaccinated also encourages others wanting to get hired to get inoculated, she said.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said businessmen welcome EO 143 as they see it as a measure to protect the health and safety of both employees and customers.
Dole’s no discrimination
But under Dole’s rules, it is not allowed.
Under Dole Advisory No. 03 Series of 2021, there shall be no discrimination against employees who remain unvaccinated or termination of their services.
“Covered establishments and employers shall endeavor to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. However, any employee who refuses or fails to be vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay, and other benefits, among others, or terminated from employment. No vaccine, no work policy shall not be allowed,” the advisory signed by Labor Secretary Silveste Bello III in March 2021, said.
Taguiam said that the national government must come up with a general rule on how to implement the Dole advisory, “which is giving businesses a hard time to decide whether to open or close,” he said.
With businesses hoping to generate revenue for the fourth quarter of the year, Taguiam said, it is the private sector’s hope to earn something during the last few months because they have payables to do. (JOB, PAC)