A more planned approach to economic reopening — Bali VaswaniWednesday, July 14, 2021
Jamaica is being cautioned to take a measured approach to relaxing COVID-19 measures. The caution comes from Bali Vaswani, chairman and CEO of ganja store Kaya Herb House, which is dependent on the tourism industry for business.
He said the country could adapt protocols similar to those enacted in Copenhagen, Denmark, where an app is used to grant access for cinemas, bars and entertainment events. In Jamaica, churches and cinemas are being allowed to operate at 70 per cent capacity, even though less than ten per cent of the island's population is vaccinated.
He told the Business Observer, “I personally had the opportunity in the past few weeks to see how the protocols are working in Copenhagen in which there was an app which showcased three things: a Digital Vaccine Card, All Covid Test Results and a simple Secure Health Certificate which showed a person has been tested within the last 72 hours to be able to go to cinemas, bars, events, etc, without masks.”
“You know exactly where everybody stands which could be easily done parish by parish, especially the tourism corridor where most workers and visitors have been vaccinated or tested within the last 72 hours.”
Vaswani said that although Jamaica is “at a very delicate stage in terms of the recent reopening of the entertainment industry which is very important to our business and the industry, we still need to ensure that the protocols work in terms of higher engagement of Jamaicans getting vaccinated along with wider testing availability.”
There is a risk, he said, “the country going back to measures which would have a negative impact on most businesses and as most of us overnight and we have to be able to adapt and make operations on the front line and understand changes can happen more frequently.”
Vaswani said that the prime minister would outline the entire roll-out plan for the opening of the country to 100 per cent, “even if it is modified or changed along the way so it would be easier for a business to plan accordingly especially if we see the milestones being met”.
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