Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging employers to continue to allow staff to work from home, where possible, as the country enters the community transmission phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We are encouraging businesses to facilitate the work-from-home order if they are able to do so,” Mr. Holness said, during a virtual press conference on Monday (September 7).
The work-from-home order, which became effective on March 18, required that all non-essential employees across government and the private sector work from home.
Non-essential work refers to duties that can be done outside of the traditional office setting. The measure was one of the first steps implemented to contain and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
The work-from-home order expired on May 31, and employees were encouraged to return to their offices under the ‘work safe work smarter’ order.
Under the new order, employers were urged to make allowances for certain categories of employees to continue working from home.
These include persons with weakened immune systems, those with children and those who have a sick or elderly person in their care.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister announced stricter COVID-19 restrictions. The new measures, which will be in effect over the next two weeks, include new curfew hours from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily; reduction in the size of public gatherings from 20 to 15 people; and taxies carrying one less person than licensed to transport.
In addition, persons 70 and over are also required to stay home, while churches have been restricted to 15 congregants gathered on the outside.
“Again, let me emphasise that these measures are being constantly reviewed and may be adjusted as deemed fit,” Mr. Holness said.
The Prime Minister continues to appeal to Jamaicans to exercise personal responsibility to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, including wearing their mask consistently and properly, practising hand sanitising; and maintaining the six feet of physical distance at all times.
“You cannot let you guard down,” Mr. Holness stressed.