Firms whose employees test positive for COVID-19 are not being forced to close their doors but some, mostly small businesses, have no choice but to shut down, says the president of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Edward Clarke.
His comments come just days after the head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit Ronald Chapman made it clear that the unit did not instruct businesses to close once a staff member tested positive for the respiratory virus, saying closure made no financial or scientific sense.
But speaking to Barbados TODAY, Clarke said more often than not businesses with a small staff had to temporarily close.
He said: “It depends on the size of the business. If you have a small business or if you are somebody in a one or two-room business and somebody has COVID you really don’t have a choice. You have to shut down and test everybody because there would be much more contact than say a large business.
“So what he [Chapman] is trying to say is that a large business does not have to shut down because somebody in an office has COVID.
“The management of that business needs to know how that individual interacted with other people across the business. It could be somebody that has to interact with a number of departments on a daily basis, so you have to make a judgment call as to if this person came into contact with so many people on a regular basis before we get back the results and then make a call.”
He said it was the responsibility of the employer to look out for the health and safety of their workers.
Clarke said this meant doing whatever was necessary to conduct the proper contact tracing and ensuring that all staff tested negative for COVID-19 before reopening.
He said: “You have employees who want their interests protected. They are scared because nobody wants to have COVID and you have to listen to your employees and ensure you protect the health of your employees and so on.
“Businesses are doing what they deem to be necessary at this time. They are trying to follow all of the protocols as much as they possibly can at this time and I think that businesses in Barbados have done a relatively good job. (RB)