“Work safe, work smart”, says Holness as work from home order ends

Prime Minister Andrew Holness today said employers should consider having employees continue working from home, where possible, even as the work from home order expires Sunday, May 31.

Holness said the new guideline for the employed is “Work safe, Work smart” as the need for physical distancing continues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prime Minister, in a virtual media briefing at Jamaica House, said he is encouraging employers to dialogue and negotiate with their staff to put in place framework, measures and systems to allow them to work from home if it can be facilitated.

The initial work from home order became effective on March 18 and required all non-essential employees across government and the private sector to work from home. At the time, Holness described non-essential work as “that which can be done outside of the traditional office setting”.

The measure was part of steps implemented to contain the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

He also addressed the notion the Government is reopening the economy too soon, responding that it was never shut down but that it acted to ensure the measures taken were proportionate to the prevailing coronavirus situation.

What’s more, he said the Government acted to implement control measures since the start of the virus to monitor its borders, in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. Holness said this action started before the first case was identified on the island on March 11, adding that restrictions were gradually tightened until the eventual closure of the air and sea ports to incoming passenger traffic.

Speaking to the reopening of borders, Holness said this will not be done without giving notice and without developing the necessary protocols, which includes having public health evidence to justify the actions taken.