Safe Return to Work after Travel Guidance

Updated 30th November 2020

The Ministry of Health advises against non- essential travel off the island for all Bermuda residents. The guidance* requirements are the minimum recommended for workplaces, but more stringent policies may be implemented based on the workplace’s risk assessment.

*As per Regulation 2 and Regulation 7 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Emergency Powers) Regulations 2020

Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions, and new restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Bermuda longer than expected.

Employers should develop travel policies for staff taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk level of your employment and the staff redundancy you have in place.

The Government of Bermuda requires all returning residents to receive a PCR COVID-19 test upon arrival in Bermuda in addition to subsequent tests, prior to releasing from quarantine. Further information about travel requirements is available here: https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus-travellers

Employer Considerations

Testing requirements at the border have been implemented to balance safeguarding Bermuda, while re-opening the border to returning residents and visitors. Travel is often required for medical purposes and the testing regime instituted was to identify key points where a traveller may become positive for COVID-19.

As an employer, however, you must take into consideration a number of factors before your employees return to work after travel, even with the testing regimes in place.

As an employer you should:

1. Develop a policy on travel and returning to work as part of your Emergency Response Plan. Your return to work policy should include:

  • The employer’s position on travel – essential travel should be allowedwith the required testing and adherence to quarantine requirements.
  • The employee’s notification requirements – ensure an employee knows who to report to before and after essential travel.
  • Employees should be aware of their close contacts who, if travelling to Bermuda, could affect their ability to report to work if positive for COVID-19. This could be a member of their household (i.e. spouse, roommate, etc.) who travels.
  • Return to work requirements – clearly outline when employees will be able to return to work for example a negative PCR COVID-19 test result. See recommendations based on the risk level of employment (What is high risk vs. low risk employment?).
  • Whether remote working is an option
  • Sick leave policy for prolonged periods or quarantine requirements
  • For schools and day cares: consider a travel policy for the children and their families.
  • For Gym facilities, or others with regular clients, consider a return to facility guidance for clients.

2. Ensure your employees are all aware of the policy and have documented proof that they have reviewed the policy.

3. Assess your work place to determine the possibility of exposure risk in order to put in place preventive measures. This should be done  for each specific work setting and each job. Please refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Guidance for Employers during COVID-19.

What is high risk vs. low risk employment?

High exposure risk settings

Jobs or tasks with close contact with people who may be more likely to have COVID-19, as well as contact with objects and surfaces possibly contaminated with the virus. Examples include transporting people known or suspected to have COVID-19 without separation between the driver and the passenger, providing domestic services or home care for people with COVID-19, and having contact with the deceased who were known or suspected of having COVID-19 at the time of their death. This would also apply to workers with close, sustained contact with the public and include institutional settings, for example:

    • Care homes
    • Patient care settings
    • Corrections
    • Health Professionals (Locums and supporting professionals)
    • Gyms (staff and clients)
    • Contact sports (e.g. footbal, rugby, or boxing)

Travel Policy Reccommendation

Employees should not return to work until they receive a negative 14-day test result. They work in a high risk setting with vulnerable persons and could risk an outbreak.

If the worker is considered essential* to providing critical services, cannot work remotely and awaiting a 14-day test result is not possible, the following standard may be applied  at  the  discretion  of the workplace managers who must assume responsibility for compliance monitoring and for outcomes:

  • The worker must complete COVID-19 PCR Testing as per the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No. 3) Order 2020.*
  • They must have a negative test result from their day 8 test upon arrival in Bermuda before returning to high risk exposure work.
  • Must practice workplace isolation* until day 14 test results are received.
  • A healthcare worker must wear a surgical mask at all times unless higher level of PPE is required for healthcare procedures being undertaken
  • They must complete daily self-monitoring and documentation of temperature and symptoms for 14 days after arrival.
  • They must complete all subsequent testing according to Traveller Guidance, and must maintain physical distancing and hand hygiene.
  • They should inform their colleagues, patients and office staff of their travel history and quarantine process in advance of returning to the high risk setting so that informed decisions can be made by patients and/or coworkers for their own health protection.

*See Definitions below

Visiting specialists providing service/technical assistance not available from residents in Bermuda, and which are critical to the health and well-being of the community, should adhere to the following:

  • The worker must complete COVID-19 PCR Testing as per the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No. 3) Order 2020
  • They must have two negative COVID-19 Test results from their pre-arrival and arrival test results before reporting for high risk exposure work.
  • Must practice workplace isolation* until day 14 test results are received.
  • The worker must wear a surgical mask at all times unless higher level of PPE is required for healthcare procedures being undertaken
  • They must complete daily self-monitoring and documentation of temperature and symptoms for 14 days after arrival

*See Definitions on page 3

Medium exposure risk

Jobs or tasks with close, frequent contact with the general public or others. This risk level may apply  to workers who have frequent and close contact with the people in high-population-density work environments, or tasks that require close and frequent contact between co-workers or between members of the public. Examples of this type of work include:

  • Schools, day care centres/providers and camps (applies to both staff and attendees)
  • Retail stores (employees only)
  • Construction
  • Police
  • Public transport
  • Office workers
  • Spas, Salons and Barbershops (applies to both workers and attendees)

Travel Policy Recommendation:

Ideally employees should not return to work until they receive their 14-day test results. Employees should work remotely if possible. If this is not possible, employees should wait for a negative day 8 test result before the employee returns to work following travel.

Ensure the employee strictly complies with testing and quarantine requirements as per the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No.3) Order, wears a mask, wash their hands frequently and keeps a physical distance of 6 feet from others.

Low exposure risk

Includes remote workers and workers in an office space without any general or shared areas.

Travel Policy Recommendation:

If remote work is possible, they maywork immediately.

For return to office settings with no shared space, the employee must have completed quarantine requirements as per the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No.3) Order 2020.

Ensure the employee strictly complies with testing and quarantine requirements as per the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No.3) Order, wears a mask, washes their hands frequently and keeps a physical distance of 6 feet from others.

Definitions

Close Contact – being face to face within 6 ft of another person for more than 15 minutes.

Essential worker – is providing care that is critical to the health and well-being of the community and Bermuda, and where no other local providers are available.

Workplace isolation – staff should wear surgical/ procedure masks and any additional PPE, based on usual routine practices and wear the PPE at all times in the workplace (acute care and non-acute care), not just during client care. The workers should work in only one facility. The health care worker must not eat meals in shared spaces in the facility as they will have to remove the PPE to eat.

 

Feedback