Acting safely, protecting the vulnerable
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley spoke to the country for close to two hours tonight and outlined measures for a phased easing of the lockdown imposed to limit spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Among measures were what she called “protocols for safe people doing safe things and vulnerable people at home and protected”.
Vulnerable people were defined as:
• Anyone who has a high temperature or a new, persistent cough
• A vulnerable person (by their age, underlying health condition, clinical condition or are pregnant)
• Is living with someone in self-isolation or a vulnerable person. should not come to work.
For public transport, buses will be limited to 60 per cent capacity to provide sufficient space and only one person at a time can sit on a row of chairs.
While it is not yet mandatory, she asked that people wear masks, whether disposable or cloth, in public.
“I know that some of you already have the disposable masks – surgical and in particular, the N95. Let us agree that as far as possible these should be left for our health care workers and frontline workers. Barbadians will buy and they will make,” she said.
Workers were encouraged to travel to work alone using their transport, where possible.
Mottley said employers need to consider parking arrangements for additional cars and bicycles, providing hand cleaning facilities at entrances and exits.
“All persons entering the worksite are, with their consent, to have their temperature taken before proceeding onto the site. Temperatures on sites should be tested twice daily by a dedicated nurse assigned to carry out this duty for large workplaces like construction sites, supermarkets and manufacturing plants.
Other rmeasures include:
• Employers should introduce staggered start and finish times
• All workers must wash or clean their hands before entering or leaving the workplace
• Employers must allow at least six feet or two metres between people waiting to enter the site.
• Employers must regularly clean common contact surfaces.
• Employers must provide additional handwashing facilities to the usual welfare facilities on larger sites or significant numbers of personnel on-site.
• Employers must ensure soap and fresh water is readily available and kept topped up at all times.
• The workforce should be required to stay on-site once they have entered it and not use local shops.They should be asked to bring pre-prepared meals and refillable drinking bottles from home.
• Break times should be staggered to reduce congestion and contact at all times.
Workers should sit two metres apart from each other while eating and avoid all contact. Payments should be taken by contactless methods wherever possible.
Avoiding Close Working
• Non-essential physical work that requires close contact between workers should not be carried out.
• Work requiring human contact should not be carried out
• All workers should wear the disposable face mask issued once made available.
• Employers should increase ventilation in enclosed spaces, regularly clean the inside of work vehicles and between use by different operators.
• Only necessary meeting participants should attend in-door meetings.
• Rubbish collection and storage points should be increased and emptied regularly throughout and at the end of each day.
• Beyond these protocols, we must phase our approach to limit bunching and congestion and potential sources of risk. (PR)
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