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  • Current restrictions on the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
Publication:

Current restrictions on the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace

30 April 2021

Although the state of national emergency to limit the spread of Covid-19 has ended, many epidemiological safety requirements remain in place. In the material, we provide an insight into the requirements that are relevant for employers and that all the same need to be met in the workplace.

Work organization

  • If the specifics of the work allow it, the employer must provide remote opportunities for the employees. Important - the employee must mutually agree with the employer to perform work remotely or the employer must provide for it in the binding internal regulations.
  • However, if the work is performed on-site, the employer is obliged to: determine measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace; to determine who is responsible for the implementation of these measures; to provide employees with the necessary protective equipment; inform staff of the measures taken to control the spread of Covid-19.
  • Employers are invited to provide as much space as possible per employee in open-plan offices, preferably not less than 15 m2.
  • If the employee needs to be present on-site to perform the work, but this poses additional epidemiological risks, employers can develop work schedules for on-site visits.
  • It is the employer's responsibility to control and prevent employees from gathering during work breaks (e.g., during coffee breaks, lunch breaks).
  • Beauty service providers must separate workplaces, manage fresh air flow in the premises and disinfect the workplace, including by avoiding disruption of visitor flows.
  • For those working in the field of transport and passenger transport services, when entering Latvia, if they go to or return from the place of work, they do not have to take the COVID-19 test or submit a certificate that the person is not infectious.
  • To identify occupational safety risks and implement measures to prevent them, employers are encouraged to use the interactive tool OiRA - available here.
  • To dispel various ambiguities in the context of the organization work by remote means, the State Labor Inspectorate has provided both explanations and offers employers to get acquainted with regularly updated guidelines, which can be useful to organize work at companies.

Establishment of security measures

  • For companies operating in the trade sector it is particularly important to put in place an epidemiological security plan and an internal control system to implement these measures. If this is not done, the supervisory authority may close the trading venue for a period of up to seven days. The internal control system describes the procedures for ensuring compliance with physical distance, crowding of visitors, etc. requirements.
  • If it is not possible to observe the distance due to work duties, employees may gather indoors and outdoors at the same time. However, if this gathering is not related to the performance of work duties, it must be limited.
  • If there is more than one person in the workplace, medical or non-medical face masks must be used.
  • The transfer of work items and work equipment, including stationery, from one person to another should be minimized.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of work equipment must be carried out regularly, including on surfaces and objects that are frequently used (door handles, table tops, chair armrests, surfaces in toilets, etc.).
  • Persons with signs of acute respiratory infection or who must observe self-isolation or home quarantine requirements must not be present at workplaces.
  • When meeting with clients in matters related to the performance of work duties, a distance of two meters must be ensured, including one person in the room with an area of ​​at least 15 m2. A visible notice about the number of people allowed in the room must be placed at the meeting place.
  • It is the employer's responsibility to identify the contact persons at the workplace for the individual COVID-19 infected.

Collective vaccination

  • Company managers will be allowed to prepare lists for collective vaccination of employees and submit it to the medical institution that carries out the vaccination. The list will include those employees who have voluntarily agreed to vaccination. A sample form is available here. The Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 360 is the appropriate legal basis for such processing of personal data.
  • Employers will be able to choose to provide collective vaccination in a medical institution (the list of vaccination offices is here) or by requiring that the vaccination service in a company with more than 25 employees be provided on its premises (list of off-site vaccination institutions here).

It should be noted that most of the safety measures listed are still mandatory, but in cases where they cannot be objectively observed, such as in workplaces with large teams, it is the joint responsibility of the employer and employees to minimize the risks of coronavirus transmission.

Additional sources:

Law on the Management of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection

Law on the Suppression of Consequences of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection

Epidemiological Safety Measures for the Containment of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection