Tue | Jan 19, 2021

COVID test for J’cans at Hedo

Published:Monday | November 16, 2020 | 12:14 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

All Jamaicans are now required to undergo a COVID-19 test in order to check into the Hedonism II hotel in Negril.

Only tourists originating in four US states – Arizona, Texas, Florida, New York – are expected to present a COVID-19 test result on arrival in Jamaica.

On Sunday night, The Gleaner tried to secure a reservation for accommodation at the hotel but was informed by a front-desk receptionist that all local residents must test negative on arrival. The testing requirement was implemented last Thursday.

Rapid tests produce results in less than half an hour.

The Gleaner can confirm that a group of nine locals who vacationed at the hotel two weeks ago went back to Kingston, and days later, said that they tested positive for the coronavirus. One of them has been admitted to an intensive care unit.

Tara Brazie, of Massachusetts in the USA, also posted in the private Facebook group, ‘Our Favourite Jamaican Vacation Place’, that she and her partner were at the hotel from November 3 to 11 but were uncomfortable with social distancing on the property.

Brazie said they decided to get tested on arrival at the airport in the USA because they felt sick and had no sense of taste. The results came back positive.

Efforts to get a comment from the new general manager, Dermot DeLoughry, were unsuccessful. The telephone operator at the resort said he would not be in until Monday morning.

Last Thursday, a group of 30 locals booked to stay and celebrate a birthday there were shocked when told on arrival that they would have to take the rapid antigen test before checking in.

The hotel conducted the test at no cost to the group of 30. It was not clear whether testing was a blanket policy.

“We found it strange that we were the only people removed from the check-in area and told we would be tested,” one of the guests told The Gleaner.

Tourists can check in 10 days after pretesting.

The Gleaner has been reliably informed that a crew from the Ministry of Health and Wellness is now at the property monitoring the protocols. The health ministry team has been there since last Thursday.

Hedonism II is one of the world’s most popular clothing-optional resorts. The property is located on the Negril Beach in Westmoreland.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com