Prime Minister Jacobs calls on business community to keep a healthy distance at the workplace

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PHOTO: Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs

Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs has sent a letter to the business community as Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) encouraging the business community to observe and implement preventative measures such as employees and customers keeping a healthy distance between each other – social distancing – in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
“These measures will help develop a healthier working environment for employees and customers, and in the end will ultimately lead to the full recovery of both the public and private sectors”, Prime Minister Jacobs said on Sunday.
All establishments that are allowed to remain open must incorporate and execute safety guidelines during and after the COVID-19 threat. Prime Minister Jacobs further reiterates that the collective actions and commitment to this cause will help the country overcome this and thrive towards a stronger economy for Sint Maarten.
Measures to be taken within the work environment related to social distancing are:
1. Sanitize Business after closing: businesses are encouraged to sanitize their establishment after closing hours and before opening to the public.
2. Introduce Special Hours for Most Vulnerable Groups: businesses are encouraged to offer preferential opening hours (i.e. first hour when open) to vulnerable groups in our community such as the Elderly, pregnant women and/or persons with young children (under 5 years).
3. Introduce safety spaces: avoid the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining a distance of three (3) feet/ one (1) meter from all employees and customers.
4. Limit crowds: avoid having more than ten (10) employees or customers in your establishment or shared spaces at one time.
5. Limit large gatherings: maximum twenty (20) persons are permitted in large spaces at one time.
6. Adjust service areas and shared spaces: employers are encouraged to adjust floor plans, seating and configure large spaces to ensure social distancing.
7. Minimize and/or Sanitize Common Areas surfaces: businesses are encouraged to minimize common areas touching (where possible) and/or sanitize common areas that are touched frequently.
8. Avoid physical contact: avoid touching or physical contact with co-workers and customers.
9. Encouraging signs: encourage employees and customers to follow safety practices with gentle reminders on social distancing using posters, and pictures of guidelines for safety and cleanliness.
10. Create and oversee protocols: assure that safety and social procedures are in place or appoint an employee to develop protocols and ensure that these are followed.
11. Clean elevators: elevators must remain clean at all times. Employees and customers should avoid using elevators when crowded. Consider taking the stairs when keeping a safe distance proves difficult.
With respect to home employment:
12. Employers are encouraged to implement tools and procedures to encourage workers to work from home should the nature of the function allow for such. Employers are also encouraged to allow workers that are not feeling well to execute their tasks from home.
13. Vulnerable Workers: employers are encouraged to allow employees with pre-existing conditions and vulnerable workers (i.e. elderly) to work from home where and if possible, in as much as possible.
14. Self-quarantine: employees that are not feeling well should report illnesses via telephone or by using social media to their house doctors. Employees that are not well are restricted to self-quarantine for a period of fourteen (14) days.
15. Business travel: employees who have traveled within the last two weeks should self -quarantine for a period of fourteen (14) days.
Regarding safety sanitary procedures for the work environment: 16. Sanitation: all customers and employees must sanitize their hands before entering and exiting the establishment. Keep windows open as much as possible and ensure that all ventilators and air-conditioning systems are cleaned.
17. Keep lavatories clean: all employees and customers must wash their hands before and after the use of restrooms. These must be kept clean at all times.
18. Keep doors open: to avoid unnecessary contact with doorknobs and other surfaces. Frequently clean and wipe doorknobs after opening and closing doors.
19. Wash uniforms or clothing: employees are encouraged to change or wash uniforms and work attire that were worn during working hours. Please do not re-use uniforms or work attire unless these are properly washed.
Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM – for official information and updates or visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus or its Facebook Page: Facebook.com/SXMGOV

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