Government offices will officially reopen on Sunday, July 4, 2021, after remaining temporarily closed as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 in the Maldives. This decision was publicised today, as the 19th directive issued by the President’s Office this year.
The directive urges government offices to abide by the health and safety guidelines outlined by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in order to contain the further spread of COVID-19. Government offices in islands with community spread of the virus are to take particular heed of these guidelines. It is the responsibility of respective Ministers and institutional heads to ensure that the least necessary number of staff attends the workplace simultaneously. They may do this by: arranging for staff who are able to work from home to do so; separating staff into teams, and requiring distinct teams to attend work on alternate days or shifts; and by distinguishing the different services that are part of their institutional mandates, to arrange for their provision on alternate days.
Government offices are encouraged to ensure that staff complete their work within regular hours and avoid staying in the office past 2 p.m. unless it is for shift duty. If it is absolutely necessary that offices should remain open after regular hours, they are encouraged to close by 4 p.m. at the latest. To reduce the necessity of physical interactions, government institutions should identify which of their services could be provided online, and subsequently implement and regularise such means. The guidelines also mandate offices to implement good hygiene practices and ensure social distancing, in accordance with the measures outlined in the relevant Civil Service Commission Circular, developed in consultation with the HPA.
They also address the issue of necessary expense-reductions offices should make in light of the economic situation caused by the pandemic. Government institutions should reduce printing costs and digitalise work to the extent possible. They should also implement all possible cost-cutting measures in order to reduce the strain on the national budget.
Government institutions are also asked to reiterate to their staff that these preventive measures are being taken in order to help the country overcome the pandemic. They are to emphasise to their employees the importance of not leaving the house unless it is essential, and of always heeding the advice and instructions of the HPA.