Hotels will bear heavy responsibility for well-being of employees

JAMAICA’S tourism ministry, working in tandem with industry stakeholders, has crafted a deep and comprehensive plan covering 111 pages to keep visitors and Jamaicans alike safe from the novel coronavirus.

Following is the third in a series of excerpts from the document titled ‘Resilience: COVID-19 Ministry of Tourism health and safety protocols for the tourism industry 2020’ dealing with the responsibility of hotels for the well-being of their employees:

Under the general protocols, hotels are required to:

• Provide transportation for employees from central points in the community to the work site and back where feasible.

• Communicate with employees that reopening will likely be gradual with staggered starting times for employees to allow for a smoother roll-out and management of training and worker care.

• Ensure all employees are healthy upon their return to work through a health questionnaire similar to the questionnaire administered to potential tourists or other mechanisms as appropriate.

• Check informally on the health of employees on a regular basis, every 4-6 weeks, and if they are showing symptoms or have other risk factors, testing may be appropriate. Those who test positive are required to be reported to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for quarantine and contact tracing.

• Take the temperature of each employee upon arrival for their shift. Those with an elevated temperature and/ or visible symptoms should be documented and screened by the onsite or on-call medical professional for additional symptoms that may indicate a risk of COVID-19. Depending on the assessment, the medical professional will instruct the employee to return home or will assist the employee in contacting the health department for further guidance.

• Brief employees at start of their shift to remind them to disclose if:

1) they have knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID-19;

2) they have symptoms of COVID-19; and

3) they had an above normal temperature at check-in.

• Recommend that all employees change clothes, to a fresh set or a work-provided uniform, upon arrival to work once they have signed in. Launder clothing for employees if possible.

• Encourage employees not to share desks, office supplies, computers, chairs, phones, etc. When there is a shift change, the employee is responsible for wiping down their workstation, if appropriate, using alcohol-based sanitising spray (62 per cent alcohol or above).

• Require employees to wear face masks throughout their work shift and in interaction with patrons. Require employees to sanitise or wash their hands regularly throughout their shift (minimum of once an hour) and after the following interactions occur:

1) Handling/exchange of cash;

2) Processing a credit card from a patron;

3) Handling items from a patron;

4) Touching common areas;

5) Upon serving food and drinks.



• Require all cleaners to wear appropriate PPE [personal protective equipment] while conducting their cleaning duties.

• Wash all laundry and reusable items in water at 60ºC or above.

• Wash all food service items (plates, cutlery, cups, glassware, serving trays, etc) in water at 80°C or above.

• Sanitise all public touch points on a rotating basis throughout the operating hours, with each surface being cleaned at a minimum every two hours. This includes door handles, railings, desks, flat surfaces, elevator buttons, etc.

• Handle waste using tongs and bag waste properly. Empty garbage cans regularly to prevent overflow.

• Perform routine maintenance of air conditioning vents or filters to promote indoor air quality and limit exposure.

• Ensure safe removal and disposal of PPE using the safety disposal guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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