The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has embarked on a series of sensitisation workshops to highlight coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, which will govern the tourism sector when it reopens on June 15.
These workshops target tourism workers as well as other stakeholders in the sector and will be held over the course of six days, from June 8 to June 15, with the exception of Saturday (June 13) and Sunday (June 14).
The sessions are being held both virtually, via Microsoft Teams, and face-to-face at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and the Ocho Rios Cruise Pier in St. Ann at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Training Manager for the TPDCo, Western Region, Megan Mollison, told JIS News that the protocols set in place are necessary to ensure the safety of tourism stakeholders.
“We have to go back into the industry, and we have to try to be as safe as possible. We have our families, we have our communities and we have to protect ourselves,” she said.
Ms. Mollison implored tourism workers to wear proper COVID-19 prevention gear to stave the spread of the illness to their families.
She added that returning to the industry under the new protocols will be a “mammoth task, but we have to go back out there, we have to go back to our jobs, but we have to be safe”.
Ms. Mollison was presenting on day two of the event, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Tuesday (June 9). The session highlighted the protocols that will be in place at the island’s hotels.
One of the protocols highlighted is the need to appoint a health and safety risk committee at hotels with in excess of 100 rooms, once the industry reopens.
Another COVID-19 safety protocol dictates that each hotel must appoint a COVID-19 safety point person (SPP), who should also serve as a point of contact for employee and guest complaints and is required to document, investigate and triage complaints.
Hotels will also be responsible for providing transportation for employees from central points in the community to the worksite and back, where feasible. The entity must also ensure that staff members are healthy upon their return to work through a health questionnaire similar to the one administered to potential tourists, or other mechanisms as appropriate.
Cleaners at hotels are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) while conducting their cleaning duties.
Hotels will be required to allow for contactless, digital check-in of guests where possible, and must also ensure that employees, at the start of their shift, disclose whether they have knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID-19.
They must also inform guests of the COVID-19 safety protocols and how to get more information should they require it and enforce the wearing of face masks in public/common areas.
Guests must be provided with a printed or electronic copy of the safety protocols that the hotel is employing.
There will also be special emphasis on social distancing throughout hotel properties and the thorough and frequent sanitisation of the hotel, particularly frequently touched surfaces, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.