Non-Compliance With Safety Protocols Could See Closure Of Beaches And Rivers in Jamaica

Visitors to beaches and rivers are being urged to adhere to the safety protocols that have been put in place to contain the local spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This call comes from Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, who warned that the conditional reopening of rivers and beaches that was granted by the Government may not be extended “unless we get full compliance with the protocols”.

In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday (June 23), McKenzie lamented “the wanton disregard for the protocols that have been laid down, by large numbers of persons visiting these locations”.

“I want to urge the operators of the beaches and rivers to strictly enforce the protocols. I want to urge the citizens who are going to these locations to be responsible in the manner in which they operate,” he said.

“COVID-19 is not over. There is no room for complacency; there is no room for us to become irresponsible in our personal conduct in pursuit of leisure,” he added.

The safety protocols were put in place in tandem with the conditional resumption of general access to public beaches and rivers on June 7. The reopening, which was for an initial period of 14 days, has since been extended to June 30.

However, it is the results of an assessment of public compliance with the established protocols that will determine whether the resumption period will be prolonged.

These protocols include physical distancing of six feet, the wearing of masks, and ensuring that no more than 10 persons at any time should gather in one area of these public facilities.

In addition, operators are not allowed to provide any form of seating, though persons visiting the beach can take their personal chairs.

Also, no seating is to be provided for dining and vendors are not permitted to walk the properties with items for sale.

Sports, such as football, volleyball and dominoes, and the holding of parties, are not allowed at the venues.