The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has launched a programme to take COVID-19 prevention measures into communities where workers in the tourism sector live.
It comes on the heels of the disclosure from the Ministry of Health evening that there have been COVID-19 cases in the tourism industry.
Dr Diane Campbell-Stennett, Technical Director at the Western Regional Health Authority, said the authorities do not know if the cases are linked to tourists.
Speaking at the launch of the COVID-19 Ambassadors programme in Montego Bay, St. James on Thursday evening, JHTA President Clifton Reader said, while the workers are observing protocols, there is also a need to ensure that their communities do the same.
"We thought that we had so many trained workers in the industry, certified by TPDCo and they were keeping themselves, us, and the guests safe. But we said to ourselves, how can we be safe without the community? There was definitely a gap right there," he reflected.
According to Mr. Reader, the ambassadors programme is vital to ensuring that COVID-19 cases in the sector remain low.
"We have done exceptionally well in the industry keeping our team safe, our communities safe and our guests safe. The level of transmission within hotels and other businesses who observe the protocols, they're very, very low, and we want to keep it that way," he asserted.
The COVID-19 ambassadors programme has been launched in Kingston as well as St. Ann.
Mr. Reader has sought to caution tourism sector stakeholders against becoming complacent in enforcing the COVID-19 prevention protocols.
"So, this is another reason I'm challenging TPDCo, JTB as a partner, and Ministry of Health, in particular, that they must now come in, re-sensitize, retrain our employees as if it was day one. I think some of us, we've gotten battle-worn and we probably are not paying as much attention as we did six months ago," he reasoned.