Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: businesses want staff back in the workplace but measures make it tricky

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As employees are expected to return to their workplaces early next month, a number of companies are struggling to accommodate all of their office staff and comply with coronavirus measures at the same time.

Keeping social distancing with a maximum of 50 per cent of workers was doable for most businesses but with the limit on the physical presence of employees being lifted on June 10, certain workplaces will find it difficult to abide by the same health protocols, they said.

According to the health ministry, among the regulations which remain in place is the observation of a “two-metre social distancing among staff,” the deputy head of the health services Irodotos Irodotou confirmed to the Cyprus Mail.

One company’s CEO who wished to remain anonymous told the Cyprus Mail: “As things stand at present, how are we supposed to change our set-up in the office to accommodate all staff by keeping the two-metre space between them? The government will need to consider this difficulty that business owners will face and redraft the health and safety Covid-19 regulations in view of the latest national vaccination numbers.”

The regulations leave limited flexibility for businesses, especially small and medium sized enterprises. Social distancing must be kept even if some companies installed plexiglass barriers, unless those completely separate the office spaces, explained Irodotou.

“It is a measure that it is very difficult to implement, even in the most spacious of offices,” said a 34-year-old account manager who added that in his job, distances between desks are less than two metres for practical reasons, to assist communication among the staff.

“I don’t want to be yelling if I want to talk to my colleagues,” he said.

Others suggested that their companies have instructed that a percentage of workers will keep working remotely due to lack of space.

“I made arrangements with my boss and I will keep working from home,” a 31-year-old marketeer said.

Remote work was the solution provided by the health services as an alternative solution for smaller businesses by the health ministry official.

“The only alternative is to have some people continue working from home,” Irodotou said.

The measures for companies and organisations also include the mandatory face masks, while companies must carry the relevant coronavirus signs. The temperature of all employees must be taken upon their arrival in the workplace.

Unvaccinated workers must present a negative weekly coronavirus test to attend work.

Businesses will be checked by the 260 unemployed persons recruited by the state to assist police checks for possible violations in coronavirus measures.

Health protocols for workplaces are available in Greek in the labour ministry’s website.

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