Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, has warned that tourism entities that fail to comply with health and safety protocols designed to facilitate the phased reopening of the tourism sector, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will be shut down.
Speaking at the Golf View Hotel in Manchester, during a tour of the newly opened South Coast Resilient Corridor on the weekend, the Minister stressed that: “If you are not COVID compliant we are going to shut you down and whether you’re big or you’re small, because we cannot compromise on health security.”
The new corridor was introduced on July 15. Similar to the North Coast Resilient Corridor, which was introduced in June, this area will welcome visitors with robust health and safety protocols.
Minister Bartlett said: “The start of the South Coast phase of the reopening is very important to us,” noting that “this is a really popular region for Jamaicans and some international visitors, because this is country style tourism.”
Mr. Bartlett underscored the importance of tourism interests working in collaboration with various ministries and agencies, including the Ministries of Tourism and Health and Wellness, in ensuring adherence to the protocols and effectively managing the process of containing the virus “to keep Jamaica safe, secure and seamless for ourselves first and our friends and visitors.”
A team is in place, comprising government personnel and private sector stakeholders, to monitor and ensure compliance. “So, the message to the South Coast is that this corridor is going to be managed as tight, if not tighter, as we are trying to manage the Northern corridor and breaches within this corridor are going to be met with very strong action,” said the Tourism Minister.
He continued that “I’m not going to mince words on it, the instruction from me is to shut them down if they don’t comply. This is not just a South Coast edict, this is a Jamaica edict, it’s for every tourism facility that is operating in Jamaica.”
Minister Bartlett said: “So if you are a little man and you’re not compliant, if you’re a medium sized man and you’re not compliant, if you’re a big man and you’re not compliant, any man you are and you are not compliant, you’re going to be treated the same.”
Minister Bartlett outlined that Jamaica has to be strong in its resolve “because we recognize that we’re operating in a global community that is still not compliant fully” with the spread of the virus being seen in Jamaica’s source markets “in a manner that is frightening to some of us.”
The South Coast Tour also entailed stops in Black River and Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, including visits to Jakes Hotel; Jack Sprat Restaurant and the Lashings Boutique Hotel, as well as a stakeholders meeting.