By Orville Williams
Small businesses, including bars and gyms, are being encouraged to register for inspection promptly ahead of being allowed to reopen on June 1.
Such operations must first undergo an inspection by the Central Board of Health (CBH) to ensure they are in full compliance with the necessary health and safety guidelines effected by the coronavirus pandemic. After that is completed and approved, they will be given official certification and allowed to resume business.
However, with just four days to go, Chief Health Inspector, Sharon Martin, says only a handful have registered.
“The numbers have been scanty so far; not many persons would have called in to register for an inspection. I suppose between today [and] tomorrow and Friday, we will see the numbers picking up,” she told Observer.
Some of the stipulations being made ahead of the reopening include, for gyms: owners must provide hand sanitiser at key points in the facility; members waiting to enter should do so in their vehicle or wait in a designated area with markings six feet apart; equipment should be of an impervious material to facilitate easy cleaning and disinfection; members are advised to bring their own disinfectant wipes or liquid to disinfect the equipment before and after use; and members should wait 30 seconds before using equipment after it has been disinfected.
In the case of bars, health authorities are advising bartenders they do not have the option of replacing hand washing with hand sanitisers but must frequently wash their hands under running water using liquid soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. There must be a hand washing sink in the bar area and this must not be used to also wash glassware. Facemasks must be worn by all employees and by customers, except when drinking.
Meanwhile, the authorities also advise that there should be no dancing, no music and no social activities, including karaoke, dominoes and ping pong.
A few business places have already confirmed their registration or already-completed inspection and Martin urged other business operators to register as soon as possible, to ensure a smooth process.
“Owners of the gymnasiums and the bars [should] call the hotline number (727-7077) to register, that’s the only way we’ll come to them. Once, they’re registered, the CBH will contact them when we are ready to visit for the inspection,” she said.
Martin admitted that, while the inspections are of utmost importance, they are proving a strain on the CBH’s resources.
“We’re so overwhelmed, [there are] so many places we have to visit and every week, we’re hearing of different places – like, we have to go to the churches, now we have to do the gyms, we have to do the bars – so, going back to recheck these places has not been an easy task,” she added.
VC Bird International Airport is also in line for reopening on Monday. Health officials are expected to make the relevant regulations governing the airport public on Friday.