The Giftland Mall has announced that all staffers of Giftland Officemax who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result at the beginning of every week and they will have to stand the costs for those PCR tests.
It is not clear whether the company is instituting the same requirement for the other businesses located in the Mall.
In a statement, Giftland said the move is in an effort to protect its employees and patrons and create a safe work and shopping environment.
According to Giftland, it is critical that all people in the workforce get vaccinated against COVID-19 because of highly contagious variants.
The company said its workers getting vaccinated is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all workers to put patrons as well as their colleagues first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being are secured.
The move by the company is being seen as an effort to force staffers to get vaccinated since many of them would not be able to meet the cost of the weekly COVID-19 PCR test.
A COVID-19 PCR test carries a cost of $25,000. The company, therefore, wants its unvaccinated staffers to spend an average of $100,000 per month on COVID-19 tests.
The Labour Ministry has made it clear that companies cannot force workers to get vaccinated since vaccination is not mandatory.
Additionally, Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of the Laws of Guyana, it states that employers will have to stand the cost for medical surveillance or tests required by a medical surveillance programme or regulation put in place by a company.