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May 14, 2020

Laos Further Details COVID-19 Preventive Measures for Business Operators

On May 11, 2020, the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control (NTCCPC) issued Recommendations, no. 071, on the Conditions and Measures for Operations of Business Operators during the COVID-19 Outbreak. The recommendations generally ease the required preventive measures and replace the conditions and measures issued on April 21; the new list of conditions and measures must be adopted before a company’s operations will be allowed to resume in full.

Workplace Conditions

  • The working environment must be spacious enough to guarantee social distancing of at least one meter.
  • The canteen must be sufficiently spacious, and operators must guarantee good hygiene, prohibit the common use of utensils, and ensure one-meter social distancing. Persons suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms must use a separate room.
  • Clean water (including for drinking), handwashing stations, alcohol gel, and masks must be available for all employees.
  • There must be a security guard to inspect personnel who leave or enter the premises.
  • There must be a cleaning team to dispose of waste properly. Waste disposal bins should have a lid.
  • Project, company, and factory operators must facilitate periodic inspections and visits from medical teams from the relevant authority who will carry out the inspection.

Measures to Implement

  • The body temperature of all employees must be checked prior to their entering or leaving the working area, dormitory, and canteen, from morning to evening every day. Additionally, alcohol hand sanitizer must be provided to all employees. Operators must also keep a written record of the symptoms of each person. Any employee who exhibits a fever (above 37.5 degrees Celsius), a cough, or difficulty breathing must be separated from the working area and put in isolated quarantine. Operators should immediately alert the authorities via emergency number 165 or 166, and have the person examined by a doctor.
  • Masks must be provided to all employees and worn during working hours and at all gatherings of personnel. Handwashing stations must be situated at convenient locations.
  • Employees must observe social distancing of one meter. Activities where this social distancing requirement cannot be guaranteed are prohibited (e.g., sports, celebrations, social events, etc.).
  • Prevention measures for drivers transporting goods to the premises, suppliers, or any relevant person from outside the company must be comparable to those for employees.
  • All projects, companies, and factories must have their working areas, canteens, toilets, dormitories, warehouses, and storage rooms cleaned every day after working hours.

Overall, these measures reduce the emphasis on health risks posed by large factories and reduce the NTCCPC requirements for business operators looking to resume operations, including the removal of prohibitions on new hiring, and on outside parties visiting the premises. Also removed are the requirements to have a car standing ready to transport symptomatic persons and a 24-hour reserve of water.

With Laos still transitioning out of lockdown, work has so far only been resumed on a rotation staff basis. To have this rotation requirement removed and receive permission to resume normal staffing, operators of projects, companies, and factories must first ensure that the above conditions and measures can be observed, and then request authorization from the relevant authorities. The authorities will then conduct an on-site inspection before authorizing the resumption of operations.

Failure to follow these measures may result in a warning, suspension of activities, or a fine, while the Penal Code allows imprisonment for breaching hygiene measures. In addition, operators will be considered responsible for damages if they are found to have not observed these measures.

For more details on these measures, or on any aspect of doing business in Laos during this time, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].

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