Charles Gordon Market still a potential COVID-19 spreader for St James – Wallace
Lennox Wallace, the parish manager for the St James Health Department, says that the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay is still a worrisome potential site for COVID-19 spread in the parish despite a COVID-19 testing and education drive held at the facility on March 13.
“We were always concerned long before the COVID-19 testing drive on March 13 because we know that a lot of persons do not observe the rules of social distancing, handwashing, and sanitising, especially at the Charles Gordon Market, which is one of the high-risk areas for St James,” Wallace told The Gleaner on Thursday.
His comment follows the St James Health Department’s visit to the facility on March 13, in cooperation with the St James Municipal Corporation, to inspect the market’s adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and to offer testing to patrons. The visit had previously been announced during the municipal corporation’s monthly meeting, following fresh concerns being raised about the market’s adherence to the prevention protocols.
Following the visit to the market, Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams said that while there was improved obedience to the COVID-19 guidelines at the facility, constant reminders and visits would still be needed to ensure compliance.
But according to Wallace, the cause of the lack of compliance rests with the market’s shoppers as they tend to buy from sellers who ply their wares outside the market. Ironically, he noted that several vending stations inside the market have enough space between them to allow for vendors and shoppers to conduct business while obeying physical-distancing guidelines.
“The members of the public who purchase items at this facility, I believe they encourage this type of behaviour because they go on the outside of the facility to make purchases from persons who sit together very closely and do not have the necessary amenities to keep themselves safe,” said Wallace.