THE government has allowed financial markets to operate with a skeletal workforce during the month-long lockdown of the main island of Luzon.

The presidential palace released additional guidelines on the lockdown from an inter-agency task force, saying the central bank, Securities and Exchange Commission and Philippine Stock Exchange may operate starting March 18.

Also exempted from the work ban are employees of the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp., Philippine Security Settlement Corp. and Philippine Depository and Trust Corp.

“Your government won’t stop ironing out all the wrinkles,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said late Tuesday evening, referring to lockdown rules.

A number of people exempted from the ban including health workers were unable to work on March 17 in the absence of public transportation.

The government later provided buses to ferry them to and from work.

Under the new guidelines, police will allow the movement of all types of cargoes.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will facilitate a livelihood program for workers affected by the lock down.

Labor Secretary later issued an order giving work to affected employees for 10 days. The underemployed, self-employed and displaced marginalized workers who have lost their livelihood or whose earnings were affected by the quarantine will be eligible.

Meanwhile, the new guidelines also asked employers not to force their personnel to work unless they were engaged in making basic goods or providing basic services. Their failure to report for work should also not be a ground for dismissal.

Meanwhile, the government changed its travel policy, saying it would now allow international travelers except Filipino tourists from leaving the country during the lockdown period.

On Tuesday, the Transportation department said international travelers must leave or enter the country within 72 hours because international airports in Luzon will have been closed by March 20.

“Inbound international passengers are allowed entry, subject to strict immigration and quarantine protocols,” the Transportation department said.

Meanwhile, passengers from Italy and Iran must present medical certificates of good health validated by their respective embassies.

One person can accompany a passenger to or from the airport as long as the companion has a copy of the passenger’s airline ticket as proof of conveyance.

Hotels and other hospitality establishments were barred from receiving more guests. Guests who have existing accommodations as of March 17 and those with long-term leases may continue lodging there, according to the rules. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Gillian M. Cortez