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  • Vendors and users of the country’s markets are being urged to comply with the operating hours stipulated by the Government as a measure to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
  • The call came from the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, during a digital town hall on Tuesday (March 31).
  • Effective March 16, the opening hours for markets were adjusted to 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Monday (March 30), Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced that the opening hours will be extended to 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, with the 2:00 p.m. closure still in effect for the remaining days.

Vendors and users of the country’s markets are being urged to comply with the operating hours stipulated by the Government as a measure to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The call came from the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, during a digital town hall on Tuesday (March 31).

Effective March 16, the opening hours for markets were adjusted to 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Monday (March 30), Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced that the opening hours will be extended to 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, with the 2:00 p.m. closure still in effect for the remaining days.

The extended hours take effect on April 2.

“The markets must be closed at 2:00 p.m. on the days that are specified under the regulations, and the days that are specified from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the vendors must comply,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Failure to comply – then you are going to be forcing the hands of the Government to take a decision, which will have rippling effects across the country and we have to think about the economy,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, vendors and other users of the markets are being asked to practise social distancing as best as possible as they carry out business.

Acting Director of Emergency Medical Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Kurdell Espinosa Campbell, said that “safe distancing can reduce the amount of contact in our system.

Just appreciate that one person can infect at least [406] others and if we maintain social distancing, our numbers will remain very low and we will flatten our curve”.

“If we don’t, and especially in a space such as the market, we can see numbers as high as 50,000 Jamaicans affected by end of the month. We want to prevent that and, of course, we have to appreciate that our healthcare system will become very burdened.

“We may not be able to cope and we want to encourage all the users within our markets to maintain a safe one-metre distance (about three feet),” she noted further.

Meanwhile, Minister McKenzie reminded Jamaicans that while the Government tries to do what is best for the country, the fight against the pandemic has to be a collective one with each citizen playing their role.

“We have to take the necessary steps to ensure that we protect lives and we protect property. This is not a fight for the Government alone. We are talking about the future of our country and we are talking about the legacy that we want to leave for our children and our grandchildren, and we can only do that when, collectively as a people, we recognise the challenges that we face,” the Minister said.

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