With tourism workers reportedly flocking to vaccination sites in resort towns across the island, two south-coast entities are being praised for having 100 per cent of their staff fully vaccinated.
Jakes Hotel and Jack Sprat Restaurant and Bar, both in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, now have the unique distinction on achieving 100 per cent staff take-up of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Both, owned and operated by Chairman of the South Coast Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Jason Henzell, are the first and only known establishments in Jamaica, so far, to have accomplished this. The staff responded to the tourism vaccination initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and the JHTA, working in tandem with the Private Sector Vaccination Initiative.
The feat has also caught the eyes of Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, who told JIS News on Wednesday (September 22) that Jakes and Jack Sprat have both captured the essence of the vaccination programme and were leading by example.
“I commend Jakes for setting the pace in the drive to get all tourism workers vaccinated. The tourism industry is on the rebound globally and travellers are looking for COVID-safe destinations for their travel experiences. If we are to achieve maximum returns, our tourism workers must demonstrate their commitment to protecting themselves, their co-workers, their families, and our visitors by taking the lifesaving vaccine,” Mr. Bartlett noted.
He added that other establishments on the south coast participating in the vaccination initiative are said to be at levels between 40 and 70 per cent, mostly with the first of a two-dose vaccine.
Meanwhile, Mr. Henzell, son of the late legendary director Perry Henzell of the Harder They Come fame, said that the staff at both entities fully understand the importance of taking the vaccine and the leading role that tourism is playing in Jamaica’s economic recovery.
“We are proud of our staff of 125 persons achieving this milestone. Both Jakes and Jack Sprat strive to be a good steward of community tourism, knowing that the health and safety of our staff and guests, as well as the wider community of Treasure Beach, and, in fact, Jamaica and the world, are of great importance to us as a resort destination,” he pointed out.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time with our staff with regards to educating them on the history of vaccination in Jamaica and the efficacy of each of the COVID-19 vaccines. We arranged for them to meet with doctors, making appointments for them, arranging transportation, and even picking them up at their houses, some of them in my own car,” he further added.
Mr. Henzell said that, as team leader, he was fully cognisant that he also had to be empathetic, “as shaming persons would only serve to push them away”. He said he was pleased that adopting a caring, understanding approach worked, adding that we’re very proud and we think it will mean a lot to the travel trade”.
“A lot of it boils down to trust, not rushing them through the process and giving them any reason to feel intimidated,” Mr. Henzell added.
“If we are to follow all of the research and all the statistics that have been published, becoming vaccinated gives you a much higher success rate of getting through terrible days of COVID if you become infected, so I strongly suggest that you consider the vaccine and even speak to your doctor about which one might be best suited for you.”