Sat | Jul 4, 2020

New York Consulate targets June 11 reopening

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:22 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer

THE JAMAICAN Consulate in New York, which has been closed since March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic, is targeting June 11 for its reopening, with major changes to its operation.

Consul General Alsion Wilson told The Gleaner that the reopening depends on the city of New York reopening for business. Governor Andrew Cuomo is targeting June 8 for the opening up of New York City on a phased basis.

“Once the announcement is made to reopen New York City for June 8, we will reopen the consulate three days later,” Wilson said.

She announced a number of ways in which the public will be able to access the services of the consulate for passport and related services. Some of them are:

• Persons will now be required to make an appointment through the consulate’s website for such services.

• Batches of no more than 10 will be allowed to access the waiting area at half-hour intervals. No walk-in will be allowed.

• All persons making appointments for passport and consulate services must provide an email address to receive their confirmation date.

• No one will be allowed into the consulate offices without a mask. Hand sanitisers will also be provided for visitors to the consulate.

When asked about those with no access to the Internet and those with no email addresses, Wilson said that members of the public can also call the office to make appointments. She, however, discouraged people from going that route.

“As you know, we receive several calls during the working hours and we don’t want them to get lost in the number of phone calls, so we are encouraging them to make their appointments through our website,” she said.

NO CREDIT CARDS

Further, Wilson said the consulate will now be accepting credit cards for payments.

“We are hoping that within three months we will be cashless. This is an effort to protect the staff as there will be no exchange of cash,” she said. Also, people accessing the consulate’s services will be able to pay using money orders.

“We know that some people do not have credit cards, so they can pay with money orders as we move to a cashless situation,’ Wilson said.

For those staff members who deal directly with the public, they will be required to wear masks and gloves.

Despite the closure of consular services to the public, the consulate staff have been providing other services to the public through their phone calls. Further, staff members have been clearing the backlog of passports that needed to be sent to members of the public. These include mailed-in applications.

To make an appointment through the consultate, visit their website at www.conjenja-ny.org.