Mandatory Testing In Mixed-Use Projects If There’s 1 Untraceable Case
HONG KONG – Commercial properties like office space within mixed-use development with residential units in the Chinese territory are subject to much harsher mandatory testing rules, according to a recent report from Mayer Brown.
Previously, it was reported that at least 2 positive cases of any kind within a workplace in Hong Kong will trigger compulsory testing for all employees there.
But the law firm clarified that the government will impose mandatory testing for all occupants and residents of integrated projects with residential units if 1 untraceable COVID-19 infection is found.
“If one or more new confirmed cases with unknown sources are found in a residential building (including a building with mixed commercial and residential use) or sewage samples collected at the building testing positive for COVID-19, the building will be included in the compulsory testing notice,” Hong Tran and Jennifer Tam said in their report.
Hong Tran is a Partner and a Co-Firm Practice Leader of the global Employment and Benefits Group at Mayer Brown, while Jennifer Tam is a Partner in the Employment & Benefits practice in the law firm’s Hong Kong office.
“If the Centre for Health Protection considers there is a cluster outbreak in a particular workplace, apart from requiring suspension of operation and disinfection of the workplace, a compulsory testing notice will also be issued requiring persons who have been at the workplace to undergo testing. If two or more confirmed cases are found in the workplace, it will be included in the compulsory testing notice,” they noted.
Given Hong Kong’s more stringent screening rules, the duo are advising employers to keep up-to-date with the government’s measures, review and update their business continuity plan, and have a system for identifying affected staff as authorities may conduct “ambush” testing. Last is to communicate promptly and transparently about what’s occurring and what workers should do.
The mandatory testing “may result in employees not being able to attend work if they are at home, or not being able to return home if they are in the office at the time when the declaration is made.”
“Knowing who among the employees are impacted means employers can provide support to impacted employees to the extent they are able to (e.g., through well-being or employee assistance programs) and at the same time help them manage any impact or disruptions to their business caused by absences,” they added.