PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley says that as of Monday, January 10, there will be an increase in inspections for compliance with COVID-19 protocols within the business sector.
Inspections will be carried out on both daytime and night-time businesses, to ensure that the established guidelines are being followed.
“With the increase in the number of positive cases of the Omicron variant, it is imperative that these guidelines are followed stringently,” the minister stated in a press release on Thursday.
Businesses found to be in violation of these protocols will be fined by the Inspectorate. Multiple offences can and will lead to closure of establishments.
“These protocols have been implemented since 2020 after the lockdown, in order for businesses to recommence operations in a safe manner,” said Ottley. “It appears that many businesses have strayed away from the set protocols over time. This is also contributing to an increase in the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community,”
Ottley reminded the community of the protocols that have been created to maintain a healthy environment for employees and patrons alike. Several basic measures were listed.
Mask wearing (preferred surgical or N95 masks), hand washing with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds or sanitising with a solution containing 70 per cent minimum alcohol, social distancing of 1.5 metres were some of the basic measures listed. Also included was ensuring proper ventilation and ventilation systems where air circulates when indoors, knowing your status by getting tested at the local labs, including approved self-tests sold by local pharmacies, and vaccination against the COVID-19.
All persons who are eligible to receive the vaccine, including the booster dose should visit CPS or call 914 for more information. The booster dose can be taken three months after receiving the second dose.
Measures for workplace/indoor venues and businesses, for example banks, law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, insurance companies, government offices, churches, gyms, hair salons, barbershops, cinemas, theatres, supermarkets, nightclubs, etc. were also listed.
These establishments should follow the basic measures; sanitisation stations should be made available to visitors, should have temperature checks upon entry to establishments. Employees that have tested positive for COVID-19, must remain in isolation for the period advised by CPS. Employees with symptoms associated with COVID-19 including and the flu/cold must report this to the institution, remain at home and report to their physician. If an employee gets sick at work, they should be sent home immediately, followed by cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.
Staggered breaks and shifts should be implemented where possible. Encourage digital transactions and cashless payments where applicable. Employers can request periodic COVID-19 testing of employees (AB 2021 no. 44). Patrons/visitors should be limited to 50 per cent.
Visitors to restaurants and nightclubs should be masked unless consuming food and beverage. Nightclubs can request proof of negative COVID-19 test upon entry to the establishment.
Large-scale events will be cancelled until further notice.
Business curfew has been restricted from Wednesday, January 5, in a phased approach; this restriction will be enforced until further notice and will be adjusted accordingly.
Phase one: four to seven hospitalisations (20 per cent), business hours scale back to 1:00am. If hospitalisation should later decrease to less than four patients for a period of two weeks then the time would be reverted.
Phase two: eight or more hospitalisations (40 per cent), business hours scale back to 11:00pm. If hospitalizations should decrease to less than eight patients for a period of two weeks then the time would be adjusted accordingly.
According to the release, effective January 1, all countries will be classified as very high risk until further notice with COVID-19 test requirements.
For persons travelling to the country, based on the vaccination status those fully vaccinated with booster shot received; booster shot should be at least two weeks old and not exceed nine months since administered. Such cases no COVID-19 test is required. Those who are fully vaccinated, 18 years and older without booster shot, a 48 hours reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR) or 24 hours antigen test is required. For those persons who are fully vaccinated, older than five years and younger than 18 years without booster shot; no COVID-19 test is required. For non-vaccinated persons, a 48 hours rt-PCR test only is required.
For further details of the COVID-19 guidelines within your sector, please click the link: https://bit.ly/3FeZPst.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/ottley-covid-19-protocols-inspection-resumes-monday