Govt. offices set to reopen on Sunday, guidelines formed

Photo shows Velaanaage. The building where several government offices are located. (Sun File Photo)

The government of Maldives has published guidelines for government offices to operate when it reopens on Sunday. 

Government offices are set to reopen on Sunday after more than a week. The President ordered the closure of government offices on Tuesday amidst an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The guidelines announced by the government is offices in islands with active COVID-19 cases. HPA guidelines are to be followed in offices in these islands. 

The number of employees attending the workplace is to be kept at a minimum, and heads of institutions are to make arrangements so that work that can be conducted from the home of employees are to be carried out in this manner.

Employees are also to be distributed into teams and these teams are to be circulated on a weekly basis when attending office. 

Based on the service provided by the institution, as well as the resources and number of employees, the services of the institution are also to be distributed throughout the weekdays.

Employees are also to be encouraged to conclude official work during office hours and refrain from working during non-working hours, according to the policy. If an office has to be kept open after working hours, the guideline states that in such instances, offices are not be kept open after 16:00.

Unless working hours are divided into sessions, government offices are not be opened after the official working hours end at 14:00, unless for a necessary reason. Any services or operations that can be conducted online are to be carried out electronically or online. 

Appropriate safety and precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19, are to be undertaken at all state institutions. Measures such as social distancing, good hygiene are to be practiced as well as any measures that are advised by the HPA. 

Cost-cutting measures such as the reduction of the use of paper and printing costs are also to be implemented at government offices. Operations are to be carried out digitally as much as possible and the guideline advises for a paperless work environment to be established.  This is in part due to the economic constraints faced by the Maldivian economy due to COVID-19. 

The guideline also requested civil servants to refrain from going outdoors unless on a necessary basis and requested employees to adhere to the advice of the HPA and health authorities. 

The Maldives has so far confirmed 4,594 cases of the virus. Surveys of the virus have shown that workplaces are the prime reason for the spread of the virus in the country.