Employers’ Council urges people to get vaccinated
An organisation that represents island business owners added its voice to calls for unvaccinated residents to get the coronavirus jab.
The Bermuda Employers’ Council highlighted the effects on work and lives that have returned with the latest wave of infections, which has seen around 10,000 people in quarantine this week [see separate story].
Keith Jensen, the BEC president, said: “For the fourth time residents, and some places, are inflicting the spread of the virus on the community by not following the Ministry of Health’s advice.”
He added that the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital was “on the verge of being overwhelmed” because most Covid-19 patients were not fully vaccinated.
Mr Jensen said: “We urge everyone who is not vaccinated to do themselves, their families, their friends, sports and work colleagues an enormous favour and be vaccinated.
“Be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”
Figures released by the Government last week showed that of the 133 Covid-19 hospital cases – including repeat admissions – between January 11 and August 31, 116 were not vaccinated.
Five were fully vaccinated and 12 were partially vaccinated.
Mr Jensen noted that “in the midst of soaring Covid cases” this week, there were reports of temporary business closures “for extra cleaning and precautionary measures after staff tested positive for Covid”.
He pointed out that some companies reduced their hours of service to customers and there were circumstances where staff had to leave work and quarantine because they were a close contact of a positive case.
The BEC president also highlighted that some businesses recommended that their staff worked from home and Government services were affected.
He said: “Also there were complaints that there are not enough testing slots with waiting times stretching into days.
“There is a growing frustration that persons seeking an urgent Covid test cannot get one in a timely manner.”
Mr Jensen noted that restrictions, including a curfew, will be introduced. The new measures start today.
He asked: “Do all of those matters seem familiar?”
Mr Jensen pointed out that the Delta variant of the virus was highly contagious.
He added: “By now most people in Bermuda will know of someone who has been impacted.”
Mr Jensen said: “It is necessary for employers to provide a safe and healthy place of work and to mitigate the risk of Covid spreading at work.
“Therefore responsible employers are reinforcing the need for and adherence to preventive protocols by staff at work; allowing staff, who can easily do so, to work from home; using the SafeKey in required establishments; and ensuring proper cleaning of their premises.
“After the peak of the third wave it took about a month for the rising number of cases to return to relatively few per week.
“The fourth wave appears to be longer in duration with a greater impact among the unvaccinated.
“Choices come with consequences.”
The Government suggested that people who need time-sensitive outbound tests for travel use one of the certified private laboratories – Helix Genetic and Scientific Solutions or C & S West Limited.
A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said this week that test results from the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory were expected to take at least 24 hours but could be longer.