JIS News

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, says there is no known case of transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the tourism industry, despite an uptick in cases across the island.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, at the agency’s Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, on August 31, Mr. Robinson argued that the spike is as a result of Jamaicans not taking responsibility for their actions.

He pointed out that since the reopening of the Tourism Industry on June 15, hotels have been adhering to the extensive established set of safety protocols put in place by Government, “which have resulted in the safety of visitors and staff”.

“We have been to a number of the hotels. The employees are wearing masks and or face shields; Plexiglas barriers have been put up at certain guest contact areas; and there is physical distancing in the restaurants and bars. All it took was a general buy-in, because we in the industry knew this was what we had to do. Again, I am proud to say within the industry there is no known case of transmission from the visitor to our staff,” he said.

Mr. Robinson further informed that other players within the established resilient corridor set up for tourists, including attractions, have been playing their part in ensuring visitors and staff are fully compliant with the COVID-19 protocols.

“We form the resilient corridor, which is to have the visitor go from the hotel to the attractions and back, and, so far, you have everybody on board. The attraction employees are as equally excited because we all wanted to come back to work and they all adhered to the enforcement of the protocols,” he said.

The President issued an appeal to Jamaicans to begin to take personal responsibility in the fight against COVID-19 for the sake of the Jamaican economy.

“It’s the same Jamaicans who work in our hotels. It took reinforcement, as this is what we need, and of course, their input was involved and we were able to arrive at these standards that, today, have been guiding the safe operations of our tourism industry,” Mr. Robinson said.

“We can’t leave it up to Government. The Government has been phenomenal, so far, in containing the spread. It is for us as individuals, just like what we are doing in tourism, to ensure that you practise physical distancing and wear your mask,” he said.

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