Employers expected to verify frontline workers are vaccinated
Thursday, August 26th, 2021
At the end of June, the government announced that by August 1st, most front-line workers should have been vaccinated with at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the event they are not, these individuals are required to start presenting a negative COVID-19 test every two weeks at their own expense.
The responsibility in monitoring falls on the respective department or establishment. If the staff in a particular sector have not been vaccinated, the employer can be held accountable for not encouraging/enforcing their workers to get the vaccine. According to representatives in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, this is considered breaking the law, operating a business with unvaccinated staff, unless routine testing is being done. Front-line staff includes nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, military personnel, education, teachers, government employees in general, and tourism workers (restaurants, hotels, tour operators, tour guides), among others.
In San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, where tourism is the dominant industry, most establishments have encouraged their staff to get vaccinated. Many island restaurants and hotels count with fully vaccinated staff and employees with at least their first dose. All police officers on the island have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the local health department, among other governmental units, with front-line workers. According to information from the vaccination campaign, almost half of the population in San Pedro has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
As of August 16th, 153, 225 persons or 35.6% of the country’s population, had received their first dose. While 61,567 or 14.3% of the population have been fully vaccinated. Vaccines have proven to save lives. All Belizeans are encouraged to get vaccinated to overcome this pandemic. Vaccinated persons are reminded that they must still comply with mandated health regulations, wearing a face mask in public areas, social distancing, and hand sanitizing.
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