SLRA steps up to help contain COVID-19 | Daily News


SLRA steps up to help contain COVID-19

Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) stressed on the utmost need for the business community to take all necessary precautions to protect their employees, their customers, and the community at large.

The virus is an infectious condition which can spread both directly and indirectly, from one person to another. It involves your nose, throat, airway, and lungs, with older people being twice as likely to be susceptible to the illness. However, a few basic precautions can help contain the spread of the virus. COVID-19 can survive up to eight to ten hours on surfaces like paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponge, and fabric, and survive for longer over non-porous surfaces like glass, plastics, metals, and untreated wood.

Keeping this in mind, the SLRA has a series of recommendations for both employers and employees to follow in order to minimise health and business risks posed by COVID-19.

“Employers have to take necessary steps to create a hygienic environment,” SLRA President, Sidath Kodikara said.

This includes simple steps such as

* washing one’s hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding bodily contact when greeting clients and colleagues.

* It is also important for employers to take precautions when an employee feels unwell, and advise the employee in how to deal with sick family members.

* Inform employees of steps taken to mitigate risks, in all three languages.

* Maintain hygiene in common areas of the workplace, by frequently cleaning surfaces such as desks, objects like phones, elevators, and washrooms.

* Avoid meetings and events unless absolutely necessary.

* Prohibit travelling out of the country for personal reasons, unless it is at the discretion of the organisation’s chairperson.

* Consider establishing an isolation room in case you identify an employee who has the symptoms.

Kodikara also listed out general guidelines for employees to follow. This includes:

* informing the company if you feel unwell;

* avoiding public spaces such as malls, parks, and recreational areas;

* conducting interviews and meetings via online platforms;

* temperatures to be taken before entering office premises;

* temporarily closing gyms and recreational facilities at workplaces;

* working from home where possible;

* be mindful of surroundings in public transport, and to sanitise frequently when there is no running water available.

The SLRA also advises all supermarket operators and places of business to notify customers through poster campaigns of steps taken by their respective organisations to contain the virus, and on what customers and employees can do to be safe.

The Association is strongly committed to following the World Health Organization’s, the Centre for Disease Control’s, and the government’s requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as the safety of retail sector employees, customers, and the public is of the highest priority. The Associations’ members have been fully briefed on hygiene and preventive measures, both within the workplace and out of it.

“We hope and pray that Sri Lanka will not have an outbreak of COVID-19,” Kodikara said. “While the government’s efforts to mitigate the spread has been commendable, we do not want the spread of the disease as resources will be stretched to the limit in the event of an exponential outbreak. The best remedy right now is to contain the disease, and we all have a part to play in this.”

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