Better to stay 6 feet apart than 6 feet under, says new JHTA president

CLIFTON Reader, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), has called on Jamaicans to adhere to COVID-19 protocols to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe and reduce the impact of the pandemic on the country.

Addressing the launch of the association’s COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme last Friday at Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios, St Ann, Reader warned, “It’s better to stay 6 feet apart than 6 feet under.”

Reader said that JHTA member hotels have very robust COVID-19 protocols in place for the protection of employees and guests, and there has been no known transmission from hotel employee to hotel guest or vice versa. He said that it is the well-trained hotel employees who will be imparting their knowledge within the communities in which they live under the JHTA COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme.

“The same four pillars observed at our hotels — hand-washing, social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitisation — are critical to managing the virus, and each area chapter of the JHTA has committed to sharing what we know with at least two to three communities in our immediate surroundings. Our teams will be going into communities and bringing stakeholders together, and we will also be having virtual training from our properties,” Reader explained.

The association is collaborating with the Ministry of Health, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) and parish councils on the roll-out of the COVID-19 Ambassador’s Programme, beginning with a pilot in Ocho Rios.

Sandals Ocho Rios General Manager Brian Roper said that “the Ministry of Health has done a phenomenal job of delivering COVID-19 safety protocols, and the JHTA is committed to working on achieving full adoption one community at a time”.

Praising the protocol regime being used at the hotels, Donovan White, director of tourism said, “It is clear that the in-hotel protocols are working well and we commend the JHTA for sharing their knowledge with others. We fully endorse this programme and wish you well.”

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