With pandemic fatigue slowly setting in, there has been a growing lack of adherence to appropriate COVID-19 behaviour. The government introduced COVID-19 registers and temperature checks, which were mandatory when entering premises.
However, temperature checks, wearing of masks and sanitising of hands remain compulsory. The messages have been consistent for the more than 15 months since the pandemic began.
But despite the ever-increasing threat posed by COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, some institutions have dropped the guard.
There have been reports of companies flouting regulations, putting their employees’ lives at risk. Overcrowding in offices has remained the sore thumb as companies fail to adjust to the work from home policy. The government has encouraged tele-working, while civil servants work on shifts, in a bid to decongest offices.
Some companies have been accused of violating COVID-19 protocols, threatening to reverse gains made in the fight against the pandemic.
But other companies have managed to stay on the straight and narrow.
Coca-Cola Beverages Botswana general manager, David Chait says his company has focused on keeping its employees safe while at the same time protecting the sustainability of their business.
“We have implemented measures across all our operations to prioritise the safety and health of our employees. This includes providing support with airtime and data to ensure that all employees, whose roles allow them to work from home, are able to do so,” Chait said.
Additionally, CCBB ensures the availability of medical support for those who fall ill, through a company doctor, and provides counselling where required.
To ensure employees stick to COVID-19 protocols, Chait said there is regular internal communication to reinforce acceptable behaviour including social distancing and good hygiene.
“We ensure that our floor decals indicating stepping points for social distancing are renewed when they are not visible enough. We continue to communicate with our people at regular intervals to remind them of the safety measures they should take to protect themselves and their loved ones. As part of this awareness campaign, we conduct weekly COVID talks and team assessments. We have also put up posters around our facility as a form of communication-as-you-go on COVID-19 safety measures,” he said.
To ensure the risk of cross infection is contained, CCBB conducts contact tracing and ensures all contacts undergo Covid-19 tests at the company doctor’s facility and at the company’s expense.
Employees with flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms are advised to stay at home. “Personnel are encouraged to advise in advance when feeling ill and stay at home when not well. Non-punitive leave policies apply,” Chait said.
The company has weekly updates on infection rates, and this is communicated to all employees.
In order to guard against experiencing shortages of stock meant to ensure COVID-19 compliance, Coca Cola Botswana makes procurement in advance.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation across our region and adapt our protocols and actions accordingly. We want to assure all of our partners, suppliers and external stakeholders that we remain vigilant and will do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the virus,” Chait said.