As Jamaica opens its borders to welcome overseas visitors, tourism entities are implementing the necessary protocols, to keep both guests and workers safe.
As part of the preparations, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) embarked on a series of sensitisation workshops to highlight the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols that will govern the tourism sector as it reopens on June 15.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, told JIS News that most tourism entities are gearing up to reopen between June and July.
“There are a handful of hotels reopening [this] week, with most hotels making the business decision to reopen in July and so will continue to implement the protocols as they prepare to reopen then,” he said.
“For the hotels reopening [this] week, they have already sourced the required personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment and implemented the new procedures as stated in the detailed protocols provided by the Ministry of Tourism, inspected by TPDCo and given the approval to reopen,” he added.
Mr. Robinson, who is also the General Manager of Round Hill Hotel and Villas, said the operational protocols are focused on worker safety and include the use of thermal scanners or infrared thermometers to do temperature checks.
Other requirements include the use of face masks by guests and staff, face shields, disposable aprons and gloves, hand sanitising stations, sanitising misters for staff upon arrival at work, and safety signage, both in front of house and back of house.
In addition, persons will be required to practise social distancing measures in lobbies, restaurants, bars, beaches and all public spaces.
Plexiglass safety barriers are also to be installed at the front desks.
Mr. Robinson noted that electrostatic sprayers and ULV cold foggers, as well as contactless check-in using apps, will also be implemented.
“There is also training and sensitisation of employees based on the new procedures, and [they] will also have to realise that they need to take personal responsibility for their own safety by ensuring adherence to the safety protocols,” he noted.
Mr. Robinson pointed out that new procedures will be required to deliver hospitality, as the old way of greeting and interacting with visitors will no longer be accepted.
Meanwhile, Blue Diamond Resorts, which plans to reopen Royalton Negril Resort & Spa, Hideaway at Royalton Negril, and Grand Lido Negril on July 15, said it is doing so following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“As we begin to reopen our award-winning resorts in Cancun and Negril, we are committed to providing the All-In Luxury experience that our valued guests have come to know and love, with their safety being the utmost priority,” President of Hotels and Resorts at Sunwing Travel Group, Jordi Pelfort, said in a statement.
“With advanced safety protocols and superior cleaning measures, guests will be able to relax in paradise and rediscover the wonders of our host locales. As the countries which our resorts call home begin to reopen, we want to ensure our guests feel safe and cared for when choosing to stay at a Blue Diamond property,” he added.
Mr. Pelfort further stated that “by heightening our industry-leading sanitation practices, we will continue to guarantee luxurious, relaxing and Safety-Assured Vacations for all of our valued guests”.
Sandals Resorts International and Half Moon are also fully prepared and are ready to see a return of visitors.
“Sandals congratulates Jamaica on the reopening of our borders… to all international travellers. Jamaica’s newly developed COVID-19-focused health and safety protocols were over 100 pages and very impressive,” the resort chain noted in a statement.
“From transportation, restaurants, villa operators, tour providers and, of course, all sizes of hotels and resorts, it’s a world-class document that will guide safety for all in the hospitality sector,” it added.
Chairman of Half Moon, Montego Bay, Guy Steuart, said his resort is continuing its liaison with the Government to ensure “we are painstakingly diligent in the phased opening of our property”.
“The property’s website and reservations team are now open for bookings to international travellers, beyond the June 15 date as announced by the Jamaican Government,” he stated.