Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Normality returns to Annotto Bay as St Mary quarantine expires

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2020 | 12:12 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
Residents from St Mary stand in line at a wholesale in Port Maria.
Residents from St Mary stand in line at a wholesale in Port Maria.


As residents of the northeast town of Annotto Bay emerged from their homes at the end of a 14-day quarantine, there are calls for caution amid the new-found freedom.

Three St Mary communities – Dover, Annotto Bay, and Enfield – were placed under lockdown with military support after a spike in coronavirus infections in the parish.

Healthcare workers went house-to-house conducting contact tracing exercises in a bid to rein in the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 534 Jamaicans, killing nine.

Yesterday’s sense of relief contrasted with the clampdown on movement imposed on the morning of May 7 when security forces swooped down on Annotto Bay and the other towns.

“We have learned a valuable lesson,” said a resident of Annotto Bay, who gave his name as David Miller.

“For me, it was a situation where my family and I realised that our health was at risk. And we need to stay safe by washing hands, practising social distancing, and staying home.

“It was a tough period for us, but it was the right decision.”

Wake-up call

Miller noted that anecdotal accounts suggest that there is increased compliance in the wearing of masks.

“I think it was a was a wake-up call for everyone, “Miller said.

The ending of the quarantine saw the return of street vendors to Annotto Bay and the reopening of commercial businesses, along with the return of taxis and minibuses assigned to various routes.

St Mary South East Member of Parliament Dr Norman Dunn told The Gleaner on Thursday that the lifting of restrictions offered a joyful reunion for many residents.

“There is an obvious feeling that residents have learned the importance of washing hands and practising social distancing, “commented Dunn.

“It is not a time to celebrate, but rather, a period of learning to adopt a lifestyle change.”