Mandatory testing not on our menu

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April 30, 2021

A MANAGER of a local restaurant has denied claims that staff of the well-known eatery will be terminated if they do not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Jamal Bain of the Pink Octopus in Palm Cay said he had no knowledge of the claim contrary to what has been circulating on social media.

The Tribune contacted the restaurant and spoke to Mr Bain after a post on Facebook claimed staff were being forced to be vaccinated within 10 days or not return to work.

The post also claimed the establishment would not accept a COVID-19 antigen test, adding a PCR test was required before the start of shifts “for those who chose not to take the free vaccine. May 4th is your due date to see your doctor, read and become inform(ed) and make an inform(ed) decision. Pink Octopus won’t accept an antigen test.”

However, Mr Bain told The Tribune that as it stands it was a recommendation that staff either take PCR tests or get the vaccine.

Asked if workers would be fired if the vaccine was not their choice, he said: “No, not from my knowledge, there is no email from my desk, no What’sApp message, definitely not any message from my phone or from my laptop telling employees that they have to or else they are terminated. I have no knowledge of that.”

He added: “They have a choice because what we do, we are trying to move into trying to get our employees vaccinated because they work around our guests that travel from different countries and they are being vaccinated.

“So, we recommend that they actually have a PCR test or an antigen test or if they want, they can take the vaccine.

“But, moving forward everyone is going to at least have a test or a vaccine in order to be working in the hospitality field or any other hospitality field because they are working around persons who are already vaccinated or who already tested negative and then us having to work not knowing if they are positive with COVID or anything. So, we recommend that they have a weekly PCR test or an antigen test if they can get it or the vaccine.”

Asked about the 10-day deadline that was referred to on social media, Mr Bain said: “Like I say, I am answering your questions from the knowledge of what I know from my superiors but there was no mention of persons being terminated or what so I can’t really agree to that, or I don’t have an answer for that.”

From his personal viewpoint, Mr Bain said workers in the hospitality field will need to get the vaccine or submit to regular testing.

“For me personally, this just my personal view of it, us not knowing who has COVID or who don’t have COVID or have no results. We don’t have no type of knowledge who hasn’t or who doesn’t have it. So we just recommend that our staff, or I would recommend that our staff, protect themselves by at least knowing that they test negative for COVID or at least have (vaccine) to protect themselves against it. “

Earlier this week Labour Director John Pinder said employees have the right to file trade disputes in instances where employers deem it mandatory for workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr Pinder said the Department of Labour has received calls from employees at a Nassau company and an establishment in Andros indicating there were efforts to force them to receive the shot.

Mr Pinder said he spoke to both employers.

The controversy surrounding mandatory vaccination by employers was sparked when another restaurant Sushi Rokkan, co-owned by Michael Scott, QC, and his wife, mandated that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine by June 30 or they may face reassignment or termination unless there is a valid medical reason.

Mr Scott justified his position by saying: “I don’t want guests to come for sushi and leave with a COVID dessert.”

But the Pink Octopus manager noted he is not going to pressure individuals.

“I wouldn’t pressure anybody to do something that they feel as if it isn’t right to them and then we have a few person who work here who have like sugar, like diabetes, and other little underlining issues.”

Click here to read more at The Tribune

News date : 04/30/2021    Category : Covid-19, Disputes, Health, Tribune Stories

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