Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the protocols for the resumption of operations in the workplace will be published and disseminated within the next week.
He said that the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force, which is crafting the protocols, is “far advanced” in its work.
Dr. Clarke chairs the multisector working group established to oversee Jamaica’s economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement on Friday (May 29), the Minister said the protocols, which are designed to safeguard the health of employees and their families, provide the basis for a timely reopening.
He said that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has indicated its willingness to work with all other stakeholders to achieve the objective of economic recovery from COVID-19.
“Workers who have lost their jobs, self-employed persons whose livelihoods are at risk, and businesses on the edge, all benefit from health measures that keep them safe and from economic activity that provides for their needs. The path to economic recovery will not be quick, but it should begin now while observing appropriate health protocols,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Task Force is recommending that Jamaica’s borders be gradually reopened to facilitate the resumption of activities, such as trade in goods and services, which was significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Dr. Clarke noted that Jamaica is an open economy for which trade accounts for 80 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Consequently, the Minister said it will be impossible to spur economic recovery without a gradual adjustment to border restrictions.
“This includes the phased opening of international airports, first to Jamaicans, who wish to return, and then to others under ‘new normal’ procedures, consistent with public health guidance,” he indicated.
Dr. Clarke said the Task Force noted the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) projections of economic contractions for the April to June 2020 quarter, along with the latest COVID-19 updates from the Health Ministry.
He pointed out that the group recognises that attaining the levels of economic output and employment prior to COVID-19 will take some time and assured that the Task Force is working “to develop policy and other recommendations that provide the best opportunity for Jamaica’s economic and jobs recovery”.