SDC Head Confident Compliance Gains Will Not Be Eroded in Jamaica

Executive Director of the Social Development Commission (SDC), Dr. Dwayne Vernon, says he is confident that the gains made in COVID-19 protocol compliance in several areas will not be eroded.

Speaking at a digital town hall held by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development on July 23, he pointed out that along with the core protocol monitoring team established at the Ministry, there are parish protocol teams helping with ‘on the ground’ work to promote compliance.

“In each parish, we are establishing parish protocol teams comprising the SDC, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Ministry of Health officials, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and other community persons. We have employed, thus far, over 200 protocol wardens, and more will be added just to ensure that not only do we monitor, but also sensitise and help persons to understand what their responsibilities are. If we keep that up, I am confident that the gains will not be eroded,” he said.

Dr. Vernon reported on the compliance levels of various groups, for which audit surveys are done after each new measure is announced by the Government.

“Bars and taverns are at 72 per cent compliance. Beaches and rivers – we are looking at 42 per cent from the last report, and this 42 per cent is actually a 20 per cent improvement. Certainly, we have challenges at the beaches and rivers with regard to social distancing and wearing masks when not in the river,” he noted.

He explained that the social distancing markers and the limiting of activities to swimming, sunbathing and exercising were not evident and vendors still walked the beaches.

Conversely, Dr. Vernon noted positive findings for cinemas, which were allowed to reopen on July 5.

“When we did the cinemas, the compliance rate was 100 per cent, so we have to say a big thank you and recognise the management of Palace Amusement for the tremendous work they have done. The one-way in, one-way out is strictly being enforced and they have also closed two middle rows to allow for persons to cross the floor of the cinema. Sanitisation is being done and they have put in major stations in the lobby. This is a model,” Dr. Vernon said.