Circumstances in which veterinary workers who are performing critical services can return to a worksite during quarantine period for COVID-19
On 12 January 2022 Prof Nicola Spurrier, Chief Public Health Officer, published 'Permissions for close contact critical workers to return to worksite during quarantine period for COVID-19'. A copy of the document is linked: Exposure sites, contacts and diagnosis requirements
Importantly, Prof Spurrier's work permission does not permit a veterinary clinic to operate business as usual. However, if a veterinary business has reached the point where it is unable to service critical cases, then the business could consider enacting a policy where critical workers could attend the workplace despite being a close contact of a COVID case. This may be to ensure a certain limited skill set is retained such as the skills of a specialist emergency surgeon.
Every effort should be made to find alternatives to staffing before enacting this policy. Allowing close contacts who are critical workers to continue working needs to be done very carefully in conjunction with comprehensive risk mitigation plans based on multi-layered infection prevention and control. Whilst close contact critical workers are considered in these limited circumstances to be able to work, the health and wellbeing of the worker themselves, other staff members and the broader community remains of critical importance. For specific information about the requirements which apply to businesses, the responsible managers of the businesses and the close contacts, refer to the document: Exposure sites, contacts and diagnosis requirements