Starting today, local supermarkets will require vaccinations as a pre-requisite for both new employees and work-permit renewals.
Foster’s, Priced Right, Kirk Market, Hurley’s and Cost-U-Less have issued a joint press release which said, effective Monday, they will require all job applicants to have verified proof of vaccination to be considered for employment.
“Additionally, work permit renewals will only be processed for vaccinated team members,” the stores said in the release.
The decision to require vaccinations “supports the Government’s re-opening plan introduced in June 2021, which aims to see 80% of the country’s population vaccinated by September 9th, 2021″, the release said.
It said vaccination rates amongst current supermarket staff have been “excellent, as many of Cayman’s supermarkets have been facilitating staff vaccinations since February 2021, and we hope that these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind”.
Last month, local hardware store A. L. Thompson’s required all staff to provide their vaccination cards ahead of the business determining bonuses.
Thompson, in a statement to the Cayman Compass on the vaccination request, said, “The letter to my staff did not mandate anything. It simply encouraged them to be vaccinated and for my company to know which staff member has or has not been vaccinated. We have a right to know.”
He said his message was prompted, in part, by the confirmation of Cayman’s first cases of the highly contagious Delta variant on 22 July.
The supermarkets, in the statement, said “this joint COVID Staffing Policy will play a role in helping the Government achieve its vaccination goal to protect public health”.
As essential businesses they said they employ “a significant portion of the local workforce to ensure the country’s food supply chains are uninterrupted and secure. We must unite on the vaccination requirements across all stores to protect our dedicated staff and valued customers.”
The supermarkets, the statement added, are working with their respective leadership teams to amend internal policies and plans, in alignment with the government’s reopening timeline, to include such practices as mask requirements for team members, social distancing and increased store sanitation.
“We encourage the community to come together and understand the importance of being vaccinated for the safety of loved ones and yourself. While vaccine hesitancy and misinformation are hurdles across the globe, it’s important to be informed before getting vaccinated,” it said.
The statement stressed it was even more important to source information from reputable, verified news sources, including the Cayman Islands government website or social media pages, as well as the websites of the World Health Organization, the UK National Health Service, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As the Government begins to re-introduce tourism and travel for the Cayman Islands, the major supermarkets will continue to monitor and follow all health and safety guidelines provided by the Health Services Authority. We will update our community as new information is received,” the statement added.