The coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic has significantly affected people all across the world, sending massive shock waves through the global economy and leaving a trail of death in its wake. There were many unforeseen challenges with millions advised to practice social distancing and wear masks daily. As global cases edge closer to 15 million, there is still much uncertainty, but people have begun asking: how do we move forward and remain safe at the same time?
The Bahamas, like many countries around the world, began focusing its efforts toward economic recovery and returning to everyday life beyond quarantine from mid-June 2020 with phased re-openings for certain groups, full opening of commercial travel from July 1, and now effective July 22, closing commercial travel again from certain destinations due to a huge spike in Covid-19 cases. However, one thing has remained constant – ensuring organizations and business houses alike establish the right measures and safety guidelines to prevent further contagion of the virus in the local community.
As a part of the business reactivation plan, the Ministry of Health, along with other institutions, stepped up to offer guidelines and resources for organizations to implement. For example, last week, the Ministry of Health released “Workplace Guidelines During Covid-19 (V8), an updated version of the “Health and Safety at Work Act of 2002. The document provides recommendations to employers regarding best practices for maintaining the physical and mental health of their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also requires employers to provide a hazard-free work zone, and substantially reduce risk of injury and death in the workplace setting. The Atlantis, Paradise Island resort also collaborated with Cleveland Clinic, a world renowned healthcare provider, and launched the “Atlantis Clean and Safe Promise” initiative to help ensure the health, safety and well-being of guests, team members and the local community, in preparation for re-opening after months of being shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
As schools and hospitals begin to make preparations to re-open in September, here are a few industry-specific Covid-19 safety guidelines from Cleveland Clinic:
- Disinfect high-touch areas and objects (chairs, desks, computer equipment, doors, etc.) often and create disinfecting stations across campus
- Establish clearly communicated guidelines to ensure social distancing measures are properly implemented, and reduce the number of students and faculty in one area at once.
- Reconsider usage of shared classrooms and supplies and discourage students from sharing their equipment/materials.
- Alter food & beverage service practices like only serving food that can be easily distributed.
- Create a culture of responsibility by developing a pledge students, staff, and faculty can follow to keep each other safe.
- Maintain physical distancing at entrances and exits, the front desk, concierge spaces, pools and beaches, fitness facilities, restaurants and back-of-house areas. Use floor markers or other signage to reinforce physical distancing
- Reassign employees at high-risk for contagion (65+ and those with pre-existing conditions)
- Increase frequency of cleaning in all areas and adjust policies for fitness & swimming areas
- Consider suspension of valet services
- Disinfect high-touch areas frequently, such as doorknobs, push bars and door handles, light switches, carts and baskets, touchscreens, keyboards and credit card machines
- Require employees and guests to wear face masks inside the store
- Determine maximum occupancy and use signage to reinforce distancing or prompt symptomatic customers to not come inside
- Specify hours for at-risk populations and switch to contactless payments whenever possible
- Decide whether to re-open fitting roomsand use appropriate sanitation measures if opening them. Encourage customers to use hand sanitizer/wipes before trying on items and to keep a protective mask on during fitting. Develop a procedure for disinfecting fitting room items (not just clothing, but also jewelry, eyewear, etc.)