Senior Environmental Health Officer, Isabella John has advised all business owners on island to put policies in place for the management of employees or clients who test positive for Covid-19.
She was delivering remarks during a press briefing on Wednesday night.
According to John, officers within the Environmental Health Unit Department continue to give support to the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Department in ensuring that business places and workplaces are in compliance with the health and safety protocols that were established, and with the responsibility for monitoring, officers have been doing daily visits to business places and workplaces that are opened and offering service to the general public.
“All facilities must have a policy for the management of an employee or a client testing positive to include temporary closure of the facility for sanitization of the premises, testing and quarantine of all the staff as per the protocol of the ministry of health and at the food establishment all food handlers must be certified,” she said.
The Environmental Health Officer said health and safety protocols were established to ensure that all establishments implement control measures to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of their employees and their customers or clients.
She said protocols have been established for the following businesses: barbershops, hair salons, manicure and pedicure facilities, gaming establishments, gyms and other fitness venues, restaurants, churches and other places of worship.
To date, John stated, 25 barbershops, 13 spas, 48 hair salons and 21 manicure and pedicure facilities have been given certificates of approval to operate,
She made it clear that Daycares and preschools have not yet been given the permission to reopen and therefore, if any of these facilities are operating, the owners will be asked to close immediately.
Prior to opening, the owners of barbershops, spas, pedicure and manicure facilities are required to contact the Environmental Health Department for a pre-inspection.
“The pre-inspection will include a visit to the facility to determine if the owner has in place all the requirements of the protocols and these include: signage to encourage social distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and wearing of masks,” John explained.
The signs must be visible and posted in conspicuous locations and the general public must be informed of the number of persons that are allowed to be in the facility at a time.
“All owners are required to keep an appointment log and adequate time must be given between each customer to allow for cleaning and sanitizing of the surfaces and equipment,” she said. “All work stations and furniture must be placed 6 feet apart and if the equipment or the furniture cannot be removed then the number of employees must be reduced and markers must be placed on these items to inform the general public that they are out of use.”
She said all employees must have a basic idea of what has to be cleaned, when it should be cleaned and how it should be cleaned.
All facilities are required to have adequate supplies of cleaning and sanitizing products.
“And some of these products include Lysol spray and wipes, at least 70% alcohol and bleach,” John stated. “Mandatory wearing of masks must be enforced at all times.”
All facilities with control measures in place will be given a certificate of approval to operate and failure to maintain compliance will result in the certification being taken away until violations are dealt with by the owner.
Because of the close contact between the customers and the employees, additional protective equipment – a face shield – must be worn by employees together with a surgical mask or N95 mask.
“No cloth masks must be worn by the employees,” the health officer warned.
John also advised businesses that there must be signage to encourage social distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and wearing of masks which must be visible and posted in conspicuous locations, inside and outside of facilities.
“All employees or clients experiencing flu-like symptoms should not report to work or visit the facility,” John noted.