Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020
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Companies implement measures to combat COVID-19

The headquarters of Bahamas Telecommunications Company on John F. Kennedy Drive. FILE

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) announced yesterday in a press statement that it will begin a work-from-home test in the event that it has to close its offices due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), while Mr. Ship It announced through a statement from its president that it has implemented measures to assist its employees, including implementing paid time off for its staff.

BTC said in its statement that all of its employees except for retail, technical and contact center teams will work from home tomorrow. The company also announced that it has increased the frequency of its cleaning across its facilities on a daily basis, equipped its technical teams with rubber gloves and safety glasses and is enforcing a 14-day quarantine policy for staff who have traveled to restricted companies in the past 14 days.

The company stated it is “closely monitoring the evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus and is following guidance from the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”.

One case of COVID-19 was confirmed in The Bahamas yesterday by government officials.

“The safety of our employees, their families, our customers and our community is our primary concern,” BTC noted in its statement.

“We are asking visitors and customers who have traveled to any of the restricted countries within the last 14 days to take advantage of our online options.

“We encourage customers to top up, check balances and pay their bills online using the MyBTC mobile app, the website www.btcbahamas.com, by contacting our call center at 225-5282 or through online banking methods. Customers are also able to order mobile devices, landline, internet and mobile services online through the BTC website. BTC recognizes that broadband access is now a critical service and that continuous connectivity will be an extremely important tool in addressing this growing crisis. Accordingly, we are assessing our ability to enhance broadband speeds and access for all of our customers, as more and more people have to either stay at or work from home in the coming weeks.”

BTC Chief Executive Officer Garry Sinclair said in the statement that the company is working during the crisis to provide uninterrupted services to Bahamians.

“BTC is your partner, whether you will have to work or attend virtual classes from home. We are working hard to provide increased and uninterrupted broadband capacity to our business and residential customers to ensure they will be able to stay connected throughout whatever we have to confront as a community. Our B2B team is customizing a number of solutions to meet the individual needs of our business customers as well as providing dongles and LTE boxes to enable productivity for their employees. We are also partnering with the government to provide toll-free hotline numbers as needed.”

Mr. Ship It President Leonardo Lightbourne said in his statement that besides offering paid time off to staff and focusing on the extra cleaning of stores, the company will also offer discounts to customers during this time.

“As this pandemic plays out, our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been and will be affected by it. For those who have passed, we pray for their loved ones left behind and for those who are ill we pray for a speedy recovery.

“Since the virus appeared, we have increased our sanitary measures by ensuring all workstations have hand sanitizer and all packages delivered to your U.S. address are being carefully sprayed and wiped down with Lysol wipes during processing.

“We’ve doubled down on frequent cleanings and are regularly using disinfectant throughout the warehouse. We’ve increased cleaning frequency with disinfectant with special attention given to wiping down surfaces frequently touched by employees and customers alike. Additionally, we’ve put in place a plan to provide relief.”

Lightbourne said in the event the business will have to close for two weeks, “We are offering 1-2 weeks of paid time off to our employees based on their length of employment.”

For customers, Lightbourne said dimensional weight will not be charged through March 30.

“We are doing this to ensure customers can more affordably order online the items that can’t be found locally. We want to ensure you can get what you need to prepare you and your loved ones during this time,” he said.

“While all of the measures highlighted come at a significant financial cost to us, we fully realize there are more important things in life than money. The preservation of lives and health is our only focus while ensuring we are all ok when (not if) this scourge passes.

“Let’s continue to pray, plan, prepare and hope for the best as none of us know what will happen next.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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