Face masks on the beach but not in the water — you could drown!

Jamaica’s tourism ministry, working in tandem with industry stakeholders, has crafted a deep and comprehensive plan covering 111 pages to keep visitors and Jamaicans alike safe from COVID-19.

Following is the fourth in a series of excerpts from the document, titled ‘Resilience: COVID-19 Ministry of Tourism health and safety protocols for the tourism industry 2020’, dealing with keeping safe at the beach:


The wearing of face masks should be discouraged for all water activities due to the possibility of face masks posing a drowning hazard.


Beach entrance

• Determine the adjusted physical distanced maximum capacity of the beach area or beach park. Calculate the new capacity based on the square footage of the property divided by the physical distancing occupancy figure approximately 113 sq ft per person/group per occupiable space or 70 per cent capacity. Post signs listing the new maximum capacity.

• Place tape or markers at the entrance where patrons are expected to stand in line for entry processing.

• Indicate to guests that face masks are optional for adults on the beach and discouraged for children. Post signage indicating same.


Beach chairs/umbrellas/huts

• Configure pool umbrellas/chairs/huts to be at least 6 feet from each other for physical distancing guidelines and in accordance with the newly calculated maximum occupancy (113 sq ft per person/group per occupiable space or 70 per cent capacity). Post signs listing the new maximum capacity.

• Provide chairs/umbrellas/huts only under the supervision of an attendant. The attendant will direct the patrons to the space within the approved and appropriate 6 feet distance. Guests who move the equipment or refuse to cooperate should be asked to leave (only applies if not already demarcated).

• Sanitise the chair/umbrella/hut after each guest/guest party use.

• Allow parties of up to 10 beachgoers to be in a single group. If above 10 beachgoers in a single group, the group is required to split to subgroups that achieve the 10-person limit.

• Provide hand sanitiser and wipes (where possible) in strategic locations to allow patrons to further sanitise. Include hands-free garbage can with a cover for disposal of waste.

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