Employees of Glossy Bay Construction Ltd. and Gloss Bay Marina in Canouan are questioning the legality of a protocol the company announced on Thursday requiring them to take 10 days unpaid leave for COVID-19 quarantine if they leave the southern Grenadine island.
The requirement will also come into effect if an employee’s roommate leaves Canouan, including travelling to another island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In a memo sent to staff on Thursday, the company said that as it continues to monitor the spread of the COVID-19 virus locally, its management had deemed the changes necessary to safeguard the health of its entire team.
Since Dec. 28, 2020, SVG has confirmed 28 cases of COVID-19 among persons who have no recent travel history.
Among those who have tested positive is Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph.
Joseph’s test result has resulted in Commissioner of Police Colin John and other senior ranks being sent into quarantine.
John joins Minister of Health Jimmy Prince, Permanent Secretary Cuthbert Knights and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, who went into quarantine on Wednesday after a member of the ministry’s administrative staff tested positive for the viral illnesses.
The company said that with immediate effect, any member of management, staff or contractor under Glossy Bay Construction Ltd. or Glossy Bay Marina who is currently off-island or going off-island will be required to quarantine prior to returning to work.
“This is in effect until further notice,” the company said, adding that the quarantine period will be 10 days and shall be unpaid unless the person elects to use accrued days.
“If you share an apartment with other Glossy Bay staff, they too will be required to quarantine to reduce risk of exposure to the wider Glossy Bay community,” the memo said.
“If you have visitors from off-island, we strongly advise that you make alternative accommodation arrangements for them for the first 10 days of their trip to minimize exposure. You will be required to quarantine if you interact with your visitors before 10 days.”
The memo said that sick leave cannot be used to cover the quarantine period and unpaid leave will automatically be applied if leave forms are not presented to HR in a timely manner.
The company has instructed staff members that on return to the island, they are to contact a particular doctor who would administer a test and provide the staff member with instructions.
“Closely follow the instructions given while you are in quarantine,” the memo said, adding that on day 5, the staff member should contact the doctor, who would administer a second test.
“Follow the instructions given. A final test will be given on day 10. You are to return to work only when instructed and only with a signed form from [the doctor].”
The member also reiterated the company’s policy as it relates to the wearing of face masks.
Staff must wear masks while travelling in the staff van or any company vehicle or when sitting in close proximity to others, on the compound and when interacting with guests.
The wearing of masks is “strongly encouraged” when staff are going into the village or off island.
“Masks should not be worn for longer than 4 hours at a time,” the company said, adding that anyone who is non-compliant will be denied entry to the compound or to the supermarket.”
The company said that anyone found in violation of its COVID-19 protocols risks facing disciplinary action.