Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Sydney Stewart, is suggesting that more focus be placed on hosting coronavirus (COVID-19) sensitisation sessions and public education campaigns in communities as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
Councillor Stewart, who was speaking during the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ recent weekly ‘COVID Conversations’ digital press conference, argued that the concentration of sensitisation efforts mainly in the town centres, and not including smaller communities, may have contributed to recent COVID-19 spikes recorded across Jamaica.
“I think we now need to start placing some emphasis on the community square because, while the town centres are where people normally come to do shopping and commercial activities; the community squares are where people will assemble at a shop [or] at a bar [and] where they will have their own method of conversations for a period of time and they are not taking it [COVID-19] seriously as it exists,” he said.
“So I think our campaign needs to take us right there, into the backyard,” Mayor Stewart added.
Against this background, Councillor Stewart advised that the St. Ann Municipal Corporation will this week be embarking on a sensitisation campaign to be undertaken across the parish.
“We will be issuing flyers, telling and reminding the people what is expected of them, because we certainly don’t want to have any additional cases above what we are currently looking at,” the Mayor said.
According to Mr. Stewart, the flyers will be in the form of a small booklet that outlines COVID-19 information.
“So it’s not just a reminder; it’s a method of instruction to say ‘this is what we would like you to do to prevent us from having an escalation of the virus’, because some of us are not taking the virus seriously,” he said.
The Mayor further indicated that as a result of the cavalier attitude being displayed by some residents towards the virus, the hold on the issuing of permits for events will continue.
“Even our usual tree-lighting ceremony; we are not having any ceremony. We will just be going with one person and the pastor to bless the tree, we energise it and we leave,” he said.
“We are encouraging the entire public not to have large gatherings and, of course, if they are gathering, they must abide by the protocol numbers,” Mayor Stewart added.
He also advised that Digicel has offered them a number of sanitisation machines, which will be placed in all the town centres, adding that these will be supplemented to gain maximum benefit from them.
“We are imploring our residents in St. Ann to take the precautionary measures [seriously and] abide by the rules; and we are imploring the business people to act with a level of principle,” Councillor Stewart emphasised.