Reopening safely, next normal is here

Businesses are dealing with the economic and health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority is to re-open, however, we must all remain vigilant as restrictions are eased. Contact tracing remains very much significant in the fight against COVID-19.

Without a vaccine, it is clear that re-opening the economy will necessitate the implementation of protocols to minimize health and safety risks as well as protocols for contact tracing.

How can businesses re-open and operate safely in this next normal?

Build an enhanced health and safety plan for employees and customers.

While there are pre-requisites from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on workplace prevention and control of COVID-19, which include the provision of face masks and the implementation of physical distancing by a distance of at least one-meter radius space, businesses would benefit from implementing a more robust set of health and safety measures.

For example, businesses may deploy scheduled work-hours and capacity planning to ensure proper social distancing within the workplace. In Amihan, we will be utilizing SafePass to manage access to our offices. SafePass’ Scheduling and Capacity Management features allow business owners to do capacity planning based on a particular schedule. Depending on one’s SafePass’ subscription plan, a business owner will have access to basic to customizable options relative to schedule and slot types, as well as have the flexibility to set maximum capacity per slot (defined) per day.

Together with the proper management of walk-in registrants, SafePass will help in implementing social distancing rules.


Photo of SafePass and businesses reopening after lockdown in Philippines


Having these things automated and digital eases the burden on businesses, which have to balance the need for safety measures with a comfortable/convenient experience for its employees and customers. All a visitor or an employee would need is his / her SafePass QR code or ID to get access or entry to a particular location.

Imagine this: you run a building and given the modified enhanced community quarantine, a few offices have started to re-open and their employees are now coming back to the office premises. If everything were done manually or paper-based, how would you know when employees will arrive at the building? Will you be calling each tenant and asking for a list of their employees who will be going to the office? Just how much time will this effort entail? How will you know how many employees will be arriving at a specific time slot? How will you be able to manage social distancing if and when a lot of people suddenly start to arrive?

You’ll probably experience an influx of employees coming in during the morning, and security personnel will probably be challenged with enforcing social distancing at the lobby. Or you’ll have people waiting longer than usual given the safe distancing rules that need to be implemented, for example, only 4 people can occupy and ride the elevator at one time.

Of course, implementing SafePass wouldn’t come without challenges. Just like any technology, it will need some “time to get used to” and proper training on its use for it to be successfully deployed.

Make (your) business more predictable by gathering data digitally (digital onboarding).

If you run a supermarket and you know how many customers will come in on a day-to-day basis and at what time, then you will be able to serve these customers better once they enter through your doors.

You may also be able to predict how long each customer will shop, as well as be able to replenish inventory better. All of this information and insights — they will not be automatically and immediately available though, but when you have a way to easily and consistently gather data, look at and analyze your data — it will help you.

SafePass has this Guest Reservation feature which will allow end-users to register and schedule their visit with your business (your establishment). Amihan team members will be fully utilizing this feature so our employees can book their schedules before they visit any of our offices.

Implement contact tracing quickly and more efficiently.

Just a few days ago, the Philippine government had announced plans to hire 136,000 contact tracers to help the Department of Health (DOH) with its efforts in combatting the spread of the virus.

It would help a lot of businesses can aid in this effort.

Contact tracing is the process of monitoring people who have come into close contact with a person who is infected with a virus, according to the World Health Organization. It’s broken down into three steps: Contact Identification, Contact Listing, and Contact Follow up.

Now after having read about contact tracing, while it is the “key to reopening businesses and resuming some form of normal life,” it remains a mess as much as a challenge.

Speed is critical for contact tracing. The more contacts a person has had, the higher the chances that they may have already passed the virus to another person. If we (and I mean both the government and private sector) can shorten the time for contact tracing then we can improve containment.

SafePass’ online and exportable reports plus multi-level filtering capabilities help to speed up and improve incident management. SafePass takes out the tedious task of having to go through paper-based logbooks and to a certain extent, cross-checking of data manually.

End Note

Newer quarantine measures will take effect on June 1, but are businesses ready for this next phase — this next normal?

There are two things that resonate every time we talk about SafePass: courage and confidence,” Executive Chairman Winston Damarillo had shared when we launched SafePass last week.

Gusto nating bigyan ng lakas ng loob ang ating mga negosyo para magbukas, at gusto nating bigyan ng tiwala ang ating mga consumers at pumunta at [tangkilikin ang] ating mga businesses (We want to give our entrepreneurs the courage to reopen, and we want to give our consumers the confidence to go and patronize these businesses).”

While Amihan team will still be on full telecommute in the next weeks, some of us will have a need to work in our offices. Leadership is committed to employee safety and that’s why we want to implement the solution we ourselves have built.

Are you looking for a contactless QR based option and contact tracing solution? Let’s talk about your safety challenges.

Macelle Legaspi is a digital strategist & tech marketing professional.