Manchester businesses support tighter COVID restrictions

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Business interests in this south-central parish have welcomed the three consecutive weekends of tighter curfew measures imposed by the Government in an effort to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, citing the importance of public health and safety.

The measures announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness Sunday evening during a virtual press conference begin this Saturday.

Emphasising the need to get the pandemic under control, Manchester Chamber of Commerce President Kenisha Dwyer-Powell said, “We have seen in the past where [some] citizens are not observing these protocols, hence the reason and need for stricter measures. We can also see the need to have these three upcoming weekends [under] stricter curfew.”

Lyden “Trevor” Heaven, chairman of FESCO, said the measures are a step in the right direction.

“We have to recognise that it is [for] the good and benefit of our people, ensuring that we do whatever is required to reduce the amount of deaths,” he said.

“I support what they are doing. I do not believe the restrictions will result in the reduction that we are expecting to see, but it is a step in the right direction. I will support it and do what I can to ensure that at the end of the day it is better for the population as a whole,” he added.

Managing director of Golf View Hotel Peter Campbell shared similar sentiments even as he called for greater enforcement.

“As it relates to the safety of the citizens of Jamaica, I welcome any initiative that would ensure safety. However, while the implementation is one [aspect], enforcement is another, because we have been seeing and hearing about the implementation [and] not seeing enforcement, so it nullifies the implementation if the enforcement is not being done,” he said.

He also pointed to the need for the Government to have consultation with business groups.

“It would be useful if some of these implementations would take a collaborative effort, meaning the business district would have a say or at least [the Government] be open to suggestions. [I’m] not saying for the Government to walk to each business operator and ask them for their input, but we could have the chamber of commerce putting forward suggestions to the Government for consideration,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dwyer-Powell urged business operators to not be gluttonous in disregarding the health and safety of customers.

“Do not, for the sake of making an extra buck, over-pack your store or have crowding outside… businesses need to have a monitor to check what is happening outside their stores,” she said.

“If we don’t adhere, it is very likely that in a couple of weeks when another update is done there might even be stricter measures. We cannot come to a full lockdown of the country, because of our financial and economical dynamics, but these are things that we have to be mindful of,” she added.

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