Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Hotel COVID-19 stigma will be short-lived – Dyer

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:26 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Godfrey Dyer
Godfrey Dyer


The stigma that hoteliers may face from their properties housing COVID-19 isolation patients will be short-lived, Godfrey Dyer, chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, has said.

“Yes, it [the housing of recovering COVID-19 patients at hotels] could create stigma, but you could also eradicate that stigma, bearing in mind that this thing [the coronavirus]) is across the world, affecting almost every country,” Dyer told The Gleaner.

On March 23, the Government made a national appeal for 600 rooms on short-term rental at hotels that are now temporarily closed because of plunging occupancy as the borders have closed to all incoming passenger traffic. The accommodations will be used to treat COVID-19 patients who no longer require to be housed in an intensive care unit.

Dyer, a former hotelier, said that COVID-19 stigma will not affect the Government’s plea for help.

“If I had my hotel of 100 rooms or less and I decide to make it available for recovering COVID-19 patents, all I would have to do is fumigate and clear out afterward and you are OK again,” said Dyer. “I don’t think that stigma will last for any time. I don’t think it will.”

“I think especially the smaller hotels are going to cooperate because they will be collecting some revenue, albeit not full revenue, but they will be collecting something,” added Dyer, who expressed confidence that hoteliers would respond positively.

So far, hotelier Jason Henzell, of Jakes Treasure Beach, in St Elizabeth, has responded to the national appeal by offering his 65-room facility to be used for isolation. The parishes of Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth are in need of 200 such rooms.

At the same time, Dr Guna Muppuri has offered the Government his 60,000-square-foot facility in Lucea, Hanover, which once operated as the Jockey Factory. The facility sits on 22 acres of land and is believed to be able to accommodate approximately 300 people.

Approximately 18,000 people have died and more than 400,0000 confirmed infected from the novel coronavirus globally. In Jamaica, there have been 26 infections and one death.