Pursuant to the 22nd directive published by the President’s Office this year, government offices will officially reopen on the 5th of July 2020, after having remained closed as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, since the 19th of March. Official working days and hours are to be between Sunday and Thursday, and between 8 am and 2 pm, respectively.

The announcement also provided information relevant to the health and safety measures that government institutions must abide by once they reopen. These measures are outlined in Civil Service Commission Circular No. 24/2020, published 23rd June. They encompass cleanliness guidelines and social distancing measures recommended to the Government by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Despite the reopening, government offices are encouraged to ensure that staff complete their work within regular hours and avoid staying in office past 2 pm, unless it is for shift-duty. If it is absolutely necessary that offices should be kept open after regular hours, they are still encouraged to close by 4 pm in the evening at the latest. To reduce the necessity of physical interactions, government institutions should identify which of their services can be provided through online mechanisms, and subsequently implement and regularize such means.

The guidelines also address the issue of necessary expense-reductions offices should make in light of the economic damage caused by the pandemic. Accordingly, government institutions should reduce printing costs and digitalize work to the extent possible. They should also implement all possible cost-cutting measures in order to reduce the strain on the national budget.