MoBay's Cornwall Court welcomes COVID-19 curfew

MoBay's Cornwall Court welcomes COVID-19 curfew

Staff reporter

Sunday, October 25, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Residents of Cornwall Court in this western Jamaica parish have, for the most part, welcomed the special area curfew that was imposed in their community starting at 6:00 pm until 5:00 am from Friday, October 23 to Friday, November 6, in the wake of the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

Rae Town in Kingston has also been placed under the special area curfew.

Dale Stanford, a businessman in Cornwall Court, says he unreservedly welcomes the restrictions.

“I think we have to do what we have to do because when the people don't take the responsibility that they are supposed to take, then Government has to do what they have to do. We welcome this,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

He expressed that although he will now have less time to open the business, saving lives was more important than making a profit.

“Guess what, you have to give up something to get something. It will curtail business hours but you have to give up something to get something.”

A female householder who gave her name as Mae argued that the special curfew starts three hours ahead of the usual 9:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew, which “is not such a great sacrifice”.

“We can live with that. It will cut back on the time persons spend gathering, which is one way to check the spread the virus. The youngsters will have to go home earlier now and that will lower the risk of the spread of the disease,” she said.

Meanwhile, president of the Cornwall Court Citizens Association, Floyd Hitchman told the Sunday Observer that the move by Government was welcomed, even though, initially, the residents were confused over the conflicting times reported by different media sources.

“The fact that we have been told that there is an increase in the number of cases in our community, though a number of them have recovered, if it means that some amount of restriction has to be on us, it needs to be done. We just need to start following the simple protocols which have been established like wearing masks, social distancing, limit our gatherings as much as possible, and see how best we can follow the guidelines,” Hitchman said.

He noted that Cornwall Court residents were, however, baffled why a special curfew was imposed in their community over other areas in the parish of St James where the number of cases were higher.

“There is concern too, that if it is because we are such a small locale why we have been restricted, because when the map of St James was produced they highlighted some other areas which, according to the Ministry of Health, their numbers would have been more than Cornwall Court...based upon the colour code areas like Salt Spring and Bogue — but we haven't heard any lockdown for those areas,” he pointed out.

A release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) stated that during curfew hours, only essential workers with identification will be allowed to enter or exit. Additionally, the gathering limit will be no more than six persons in any public place for the period. All the other existing restrictions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be strictly enforced.

The OPM release also stated that Cornwall Court and Rae Town had seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, which was of great concern to the health authorities, and thus the special measure was to restrict movement of people to slow or prevent new exposures and new infections.

“There is also concern for the high population density of the two areas identified and the high vulnerability of persons within the areas to severe illness due to age, co-morbidities and other socio-economic factors,” the release said.

The health departments will be conducting additional testing, close monitoring of members of the communities for development of symptoms, early containment of newly detected cases, prevention of new exposures and transmission of disease, and sensitisation of members of the communities regarding infection prevention and control measures in the two areas.

Additionally, there will be enhanced monitoring and enforcement of the Disaster Risk Management Order in the business district of Montego Bay, with special attention being given to markets, supermarkets, transportation centres, banks and business places, the OPM said.

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