Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Call to replicate Resilient Corridors across all communities

Published:Monday | September 7, 2020 | 12:21 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Praising the success of the Tourism Resilient Corridors (TRC) concept, stakeholders in the hospitality industry are calling for the template to be replicated across all communities in Jamaica.

“It literally takes a village to manage this COVID-19 crisis. It’s time for us to band together to protect our communities by, firstly, protecting ourselves,” Wayne Cummings, member of the Tourism Recovery Task Force, told The Gleaner last Friday.

“Everybody should make sure their home is assessed to see where persons will wash or sanitise their hands, whether your house is big or small. They have to make this become learned behaviour,” he stressed.

The former president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association said that mask-wearing at home should become a way of life for locals “so that you can speak freely to your next-door neighbours”. He also called for designation of street leaders to reinforce messaging until it is translated into behaviour.

Cummings’ suggestion comes as the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), on Friday afternoon, declared community transmission of the virus. It is projected that 1.5 million people in Jamaica could get the disease over a 12-month period.

Three hundred and eleven communities across the island have been affected.

RETURNING NATIONALS

Jamaican nationals returning home to visit are reportedly the main superspreaders, with no proof of local transmission by tourists who are accommodated within the corridor, the Government has said.

Currently, there are three TRCs on the island, encompassing much of the north coast, south coast, and New Kingston.

Tourism businesses within the corridor must be certified by the Tourism Product Development Company for having implemented rigorous COVID-19 prevention protocols, with internal systems enhanced by governmental surveillance and enforcement to ensure compliance.

“Almost four months since the return of international arrivals, we are very proud to say that level of compliance to these strict protocols has been, without question, exceptional,” said Cummings.

“The health of our population is unquestionably our No. 1 objective, and given that fact, our insistence on both staff and visitors complying with all our protocols has worked remarkably well.”

In the meantime, the MOHW says it will continue to strengthen the support for hospitals through expanded bed capacity by 600 and increase the cadre of staff available to respond to patient needs.

The Government has also committed to continued surveillance and management at the points of entry, including airports and seaports, to reduce the number of imported cases.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com