Bartlett meets with craft vendors to discuss strategies to mitigate against COVID-19

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Bartlett meets with craft vendors to discuss strategies to mitigate against COVID-19

Friday, March 27, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett says both his ministry and the finance ministry has put together a grant of US$1.2 billion to businesses operating in tourism and related sectors to assist with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The minister noted that he met with craft vendors, travel agents and the transportation subsector to discuss strategies to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses as well.

The ministry said the island's tourism has come to a halt following restrictive measures to help reduce the spread of the disease.

“I am aware of the severe difficulties being encountered by our suppliers and recently devised, with my colleague Minister of Finance, a grant of US$1.2 billion to businesses operating in tourism and related sectors,” Bartlett said.

In addition to this grant, Bartlett said the government has been implementing fiscal actions to cushion the economic impact of COVID-9.

These include:

- Discussions with commercial banks for them to provide temporary cash-flow

- Support to businesses and consumers in affected sectors through deferral of principal payments, new lines of credit and other measures

- Introduction of the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme which has four elements:

- Introduction of the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) – which will provide temporary cash transfer to businesses in targeted sectors based on the number of workers they keep employed.

- Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash ) – which will provide temporary cash transfer to individuals where it can be verified that they lost their employment since March 10, (the date of the first COVID case in Jamaica) due to the COVID virus and this will be available for a specific period.
Special soft loan fund to assist individuals and businesses that have been hard hit.

- Supporting the poor and vulnerable with special COVID related grants.

“This is a unique time as we all grapple with this novel pandemic but together we are working to come up with the best possible solutions to ensure we recover,” Bartlett added.

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