OUR RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, also called Coronavirus Disease 2019, is a disease caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“2019 nCoV”) also called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (“SARS-CoV-2”). By most accounts, the virus is highly infectious and the disease which it causes can be particularly deadly. COVID-19 was declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization on January 30th 2020. As a consequence, national governments the world over have largely responded to slow the disease’s spread in order to protect their respective health care systems from becoming overwhelmed and thereby, hopefully, reducing mortality in their respective populations.
How has Trinidad and Tobago responded?
On January 31st 2020, the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago declared the 2019 nCoV (referring to COVID-19) to be a dangerous infectious disease. Trinidad and Tobago’s response to COVID-19 began on that said day with the Chief Medical Officer making orders for the surveillance of suspected foreign cases coming into Trinidad and Tobago for a period of 14 days. Since then, the national response to COVID-19 has involved the closure of this country’s borders, the suspension of various business operations and the regulation of social behaviours. Quite apart from the regulatory framework put in place by the National Government, many public bodies and businesses across the Country have taken on board the recommendations made by public officials to implement measures designed to protect the interests of their various stakeholders.
How has M.G. Daly & Partners responded?
Our Firm has adopted a robust and multifaceted response to the COVID-19 Pandemic which seeks to protect the interests of its personnel, clients and stakeholders while also ensuring business continuity. We describe these measures below.
In order to avoid the spread of the virus, the Firm has implemented strict protocols and policies relating to personal hygiene for all of its personnel, clients and other visitors to its offices. In support of this, the Firm has installed hygiene stations at strategic locations throughout its offices, made personal protective equipment (“PPE”) available to all staff members and visitors, and introduced physical distancing protocols for its staff members. Policies have also been put in place to address sickness in the workplace.
Please note that you may be required to adopt the following measures when visiting our offices:
- Use face coverings: Persons visiting our offices may be required to wear a mask and/or other suitable face covering to mitigate against the spread of droplets produced by coughing and/or sneezing. Such masks and/or face coverings ought to be sufficiently impermeable to prevent the dispersal of aerosols;
- Clean your hands: Persons visiting our offices may be required to wash and/or sanitize their hands using soap and/or hand sanitizer at one of our strategically placed hygiene stations before accessing our facilities;
- Practice physical distancing: Persons visiting our offices are encouraged to make an appointment and/or limit the number of persons attending with them in order to allow for a less congested office space. Additionally, persons visiting our offices are encouraged to take all reasonable precautions against coming into physical contact or 3 feet of anyone else while here. Finally, any persons exhibiting symptoms associated with the virus and/or the flu are urged to remain home and delay and/or defer their visit to our offices;
- Take your temperature: Persons visiting our offices may be required to submit to a non-invasive temperature scan in order to detect fever symptoms related to the virus. Fever detection may result in your removal from our offices; and
- Practice hygienic etiquette: Persons visiting our offices and/or staff are encouraged to refrain from traditional physical contact such as hugging and/or shaking of hands and to cough into a tissue or the crook of their elbow, if necessary. Any such person is encouraged to wash their hands after coughing and dispose and replace any PPE exposed to dispersed droplets.
Business Continuity Measures
While law offices, legal services and the Judiciary have all been categorized as essential services during the Pandemic (and thereby entitled to remain in operation), COVID-19 and the national response to it has greatly disrupted their ability to deliver legal services. This is due, in no small part, to COVID-19’s effects which have been brought to bear on clients, suppliers, staff and judicial bodies.
Our Firm has made significant arrangements to manage and mitigate against the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the national response thereto on the Firm’s operations. These include:
- Implementing “work-from-home” protocols for its Attorneys-at-Law and staff where appropriate;
- Engaging with key stakeholders using electronic means;
- Strengthening the Firm’s capacity to communicate with external persons electronically through telephone, e-mail, fax and video-conferencing;
- Leveraging the Firm’s access to online resources to maintain research capacity;
- Implementing and strengthening the Firm’s capacity for electronic transactions;
- Streamlining the Firm’s operations with external stakeholders in accordance with established protocols for doing business; and
- Actively managing the Firm’s court timetables to ensure a smooth transition to a post-pandemic state of operations.
- The Firm’s measures incorporate much of the information contained in guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. One of the Firm’s Partners was deeply involved in the preparation and production of the Law Association’s guidance documents. These guidelines may be accessed by clicking here.
For more information on the measures which we have introduced to treat with the COVID-19 Pandemic and the national response to it, contact us by clicking here.