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HomeBusinessHotels and other Stakeholders left exposed with recently Amended Public Health Regulations 

Hotels and other Stakeholders left exposed with recently Amended Public Health Regulations 

Although Prime Minister Gaston Browne was praising several private sector companies for their stance taken in mitigating the covid virus in their respective businesses. 

One thing that was quite clear is the fact that these businesses have no legal basis to stand on nor did the most recent Gazette give them the right to do what they have been forcing their employees to do.

In the Extraordinary Gazette published on Wednesday 28th July 2021: “20. COVID-19 Testing requirements for unvaccinated frontline workers and tourism stakeholders

  1. All unvaccinated frontline workers and stakeholders who provide direct services to arriving passengers and tourists, including but not limited to immigration employees, customs employees, airline employees, baggage handlers or redcaps, vendors, tour operators, hotel workers, healthcare workers and persons providing national security services are required to be tested for COVID-19 at least once in every 14 days.

(2) The cost of the fortnightly COVID-19 testing shall be borne by the worker or stakeholder.

(3) Every frontline worker or stakeholder being tested according to this paragraph shall submit the results of each test to the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health Headquarters or her designee.

(4) An unvaccinated frontline worker or stakeholder shall be permitted to work between testings unless otherwise notified by the Chief Medical Officer or her designee.

(5) An unvaccinated frontline worker or stakeholder who fails to comply with these COVID-19 testing requirements shall be prevented from trading or may be sent home without pay.”        

However, in a subsequent Extraordinary Gazette published on 27th August 2021 the Testing requirement for Unvaccinated frontline workers and stakeholders was repeal and replace with:

(h) by repealing paragraph 20( Covid-19 testing requirements for unvaccinated frontline workers and tourism stakeholders) and substituting the following—

“20. COVID-19 Testing requirements for unvaccinated frontline, Public Service, Statutory Corporation or government-owned company workers

(1) All unvaccinated frontline Public Service, Statutory Corporation, government-owned company workers are required to be tested for COVID-19 at least once every 14 days.

(2) The cost of the fortnightly COVID-19 testing shall be free.

(3) Every frontline Public Service, Statutory Corporation or government-owned company worker being tested according to this paragraph shall submit the results of each test to the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health Headquarters or her designee.

(4) An unvaccinated frontline Public Service, Statutory Corporation or government-owned company worker shall be permitted to work between testings unless otherwise notified by the Chief Medical Officer or her designee.

(5) An unvaccinated frontline Public Service, Statutory Corporation or government-owned company worker who fails to comply with these COVID-19 testing requirements shall not be permitted to enter the workplace and shall not be paid for the period of non-compliance”.    

Therefore private sector companies such as hotels and other listed stakeholders as listed in the previous Gazette of 28th July 2021 would be considered as acting illegal as of 27th August with the change in the Public Health Act. 

This has left a number of them exposed to unfair treatment of their employees having lost legal protection to enforce the 14-day testing requirement.   Over the past weeks, several hotels have been sending employees letters, to get vaccinated or subject themselves to testing every 14 days, which is no longer applicable.   

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