JHTA says members support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) yesterday said that more than 98 per cent of its members have responded with a resounding “yes” to a survey of views on whether COVID-19 vaccinations should be mandated for the tourism sector.

In addition, they have said new employees being recruited to tourism entities should be fully vaccinated.

The association issued a news release reporting President Clifton Reader as saying that the survey, conducted among heads of large and small hotels last weekend, showed the majority of members responding ‘definitely’ when asked if they would support a Government mandate for their staff to be vaccinated.

“A small percentage were concerned about medical exemptions but agreed that once these were sensitively handled they would be in agreement too,” Reader said.

He added that it would be foolhardy to ignore the worldwide trend with the mandates being applied across Jamaica’s major tourism markets and requirements for full vaccination to cross several borders.

“Already, our travel partners and guests are enquiring about the vaccination status of properties before making their reservations. We need to plan for what is clearly inevitable,” the JHTA president said.

Reader noted also that JHTA members, in association with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, have been hosting a series of “Vax Days” at various hotels across the country for the benefit of their workers and other allied hospitality and tourism workers. The hotels are also hosting sensitisation and information sessions led by medical practitioners to educate workers about the benefits of vaccines.