The government’s decision to impose nightly islandwide curfews from April 1 to April 8 to slow down the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has received the support of business leaders.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who announced the measure on Monday indicated that the curfews will be from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am daily. He advised that the movement of persons and public transportation will be restricted during the stipulated hours. Medical personnel, individuals in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, and workers in the essential services will be facilitated beyond the hours of the curfews. However, they are required to produce valid identification to security personnel, upon request.
Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) President, David Wan, says the measure is “a good and welcome way to further reduce public interaction between persons, in the effort to contain the outbreak, without any significant resulting economic impact”.
“Between the period 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., there are much less persons working and much less economic activity. So, it’s basically a good way to attempt to slow down the COVID-19 curve… [and] I’m in support of it,” he tells JIS News. “I think the Government is doing all the correct things right now. The rate of infection in Jamaica is certainly slower than most of our Latin American and Caribbean counterparts. So far, they have made the best of the [practical] choices and these have been working.”
Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) President Hugh Johnson also welcomes the imposition of the curfews, citing information surfacing that suggests “people are still congregating where they shouldn’t be”.
He said: “I appreciate the measured way in which [the curfews are] being done, in terms of the time…to allow people to do some level of commerce during the day, even though curtailed. So, I think it’s a managed approach and I commend the Government on that.”
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Lloyd Distant Jr, said the organisation is equally supportive of the announced measure. “Decisions that need to be taken, [must] be taken. As a responsible [group of] businesses and organisations, we [the JCC] shall adhere and we shall support the measure, and guide our members to adhere as well,” he added.