Cyprus orders mandatory tests for staff in F&B retail businesses, homes for the elderly


Cyprus` Council of Ministers has decided that people working in retail businesses selling food and beverages such as supermarkets, bakeries and kiosks and people working in homes for the elderly will have to be tested for COVID-19 within the next 14 days, after a number of employees in a bakery and a supermarket tested positive recently. 

Following the detection of people having contracted COVID-19 in retail premises of the food supply chain and the reluctance of a number of them to take part in the government programme of 20,000 laboratory tests using the excuse of a possible impact this could have to the company they work for, the Ministry of Health announced in a press release that during its meeting on Wednesday the Cabinet made a number of decisions for reasons of public health.

In particular, all employees of retail companies trading in food and beverages, such as bakeries, supermarkets, kiosks, butchers, fish markets etc who are part of the supply chain of those businesses, that is to say they take part in food or beverages preparation or delivery, or work in customer service, “are obligated to be tested for the coronavirus within the next 14 days.”

Testing will also be mandatory within the next 14 days for people working in homes for the elderly and generally in premises offering accommodation and care for elderly people.

All the professionals this decision affects may be tested for free at the laboratories which are cooperating with the Ministry of Health, the press relase reads, adding that a relevant list has been published for this purpose in the conext of the 20,000 tests programme in the wider public and private sector. They may also be tested privately paying the equivalent price in government approved laboratories which do the PCR test.

It is added that after the 14-day deadline the relevant agencies in cooperation with the ministry`s epidemiological monitoring unit will make inspections to ensure that all affected employees have undergone the laboratory test for COVID-19.

A decree will be issued setting a maximum to the price asked for the PCR test by the approved laboratories at €110 excluding VAT.

At the same time, the Cabinet also decided that inspections by health services for the implementation of the new directive by the Ministry providing for the mandatory removal of all staff after an employee has tested positive in retail food and beverage companies and not just of the employees in close contact with the member of staff testing positive and of an immediate sanitisation of the premises, will be enhanced. 

The premises will be able to start operations again only if the epidemiological monitoring unit`s directions have been followed, which will be issuing a relevant approval. 

It is further noted that in order to safeguard public health the unit will announce the name and address of the premises offering services to the public where a person has tested positive for the coronavirus within 24 hours of it happening.

More details will follow later with the publication of a relevant decree by the Minister of Health, the press release concludes.

Source: CNA