Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says a robust set of protocols have been developed to protect tourism workers and provide other safeguards, as the industry prepares to restart operations that have been halted due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Our Ministry, along with the Ministry of Health [and Wellness], signed off [on May 31] with perhaps the most rigorous protocols anywhere in tourism. One hundred and twenty-two pages of it covering every single element of stakeholdership activity in tourism. And very central to it all is the protection of the workers of the industry,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett, who was addressing a virtual press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre, on Sunday (May 31), noted that the establishment of these stringent guidelines and other safety measures will also send a statement to the world that Jamaica is a “COVID-resilient destination”.
“Much more is going to be done. We are going to be encouraging a level of what we call security overlaying within the industry to protect the workers in the industry in particular… . We don’t have all the answers to everything, but we certainly have put in place references that you can make whenever there is an issue and whenever there is a problem,” he said.
The Minister said he has made note of some of the protocols that companies within the sector have put forward themselves, which even exceeds those of the Ministry, “in terms of how they are going to manage their space and, more importantly, provide the necessary COVID security equipment for the workers of the industry”.
In the meantime, Minister Bartlett informed that additional training will be provided for tourism industry employees, starting today (June 1).
This, he noted, is in addition to the online training and the certification programme being undertaken, which has seen employees receiving certificates from recognised entities such as the American Restaurants Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Education Institute.
“Those certifications have already been given to a number of the 7,000 tourism workers who have registered online for the programmes that we have put forward,” the Minister informed.