The extension of the nightly islandwide curfew takes effect at 6:00 PM Wednesday, May 6 and expires at 6:00 AM on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement last night (Monday, May 4) during a virtual press conference at the OPM Media Centre.
Further to the announced extension, Prime Minister Holness said the Disaster Risk Management Order No. 4 will be extended until May 31st. Those enforcement measures include;
- The duty of employers to provide transportation for exempt workers within curfew time.
- Persons 70 and over are to stay home
- Gatherings in public places should not exceed 10 persons
- Social distancing of 6ft apart
- Mandatory wearing of masks in public
- Operating hours for markets, supermarkets and corner shops, gas station and public transportation
- Restrictions for hairdressers and barbershops
- Work from home
- Closure of bars, nightclubs, places of amusement and beaches
In the meantime, physical schools will not resume until September 7, 2020 at the start of the new school year however the Ministry of Education said that online learning will continue up to July 3, 2020.
Finally, the Prime Minister underscored that the strict measures enacted for the Business Processing Outsourcing industry will also continue until May 31, 2020. In that regard, he noted that the Government has been carefully managing the industry through a Task Force led by the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz.
Prime Minister Holness expressed that the crisis has provided an opportunity to make the economy stronger and more robust. He also said the Government will manage the gradual reopening of the economy.
Mr. Holness said that some of the measures imposed are likely to remain in place for a period after the pandemic has passed, for instance, the stay-at-home order for persons 70 years and over, in order to protect persons in that vulnerable age group.
He noted that most of the deaths related to COVID-19 in the country involve persons 65 years and over with co-morbid conditions.
“So, this order to stay at home, if you’re 70 years old, it is absolutely important and one that even after we have gone through the epidemic, we may very well have to keep it for a little while just to ensure that we protect the vulnerable group in our society,” he said.
Similarly, the Prime Minister noted that the physical distancing of six feet and the wearing of masks in public may also “become a feature of our society going forward as we cope with COVID-19”.
In the meantime, he said Cabinet has been examining the impact of the measures taken on the economy, which have been considerable but are necessary to contain and control the transmission of COVID-19.
The Prime Minister said that the curfew hours have worked very well, noting that the limit on movement, would have significantly curtailed the spread of the virus.
“The truth is that the measures have been very effective… . Without a workplace outbreak, Jamaica would be on a 20-day doubling curve,” he contended.
“We will be contemplating adjustments to the curfew hours. But, again, it all has to be based on what the science is telling us, what the public health advice is, and we have to weigh that [against] the public interest,” Mr. Holness said.
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