The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) welcomes the approach taken by the government to implement a partial lockdown around the holiday period to curb the spread of the COVID virus.
Whilst the measures will no doubt impact commerce for those businesses that thrive during this season, in light of the strain on the health system, the positivity rate and loss of life, we believe this intervention was required considering the blatant breach of the protocols taking place.
“The members of the PSOJ and the wider business community recognize that we are at a point in the pandemic where the tighter restrictions are necessary to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the burden on the public health care system and most importantly save lives. Our health care workers are stretched to the limit and hospitals are over capacity. It is clear that stricter measures are critical at this time” said Keith Duncan, PSOJ President.
This sentiment was echoed by the MSME Alliance, a member association of the PSOJ. “The measures are tough, however, we recognize that they are necessary and could also have been even stricter. We urge all our members to adhere to the measures” commented Donovan Wignal, MSME Alliance.
The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ) added that employers must also proactively seek to minimize workplace infections to strengthen the impact of the revised restrictions.
“Flexible work arrangements, work from home and use of other solutions such as reduced work hours or job sharing for those employees whose job functions cannot be performed remotely must be implemented as much as is possible. Members of the private sector must pivot to focus on measuring output, activity and results rather than rely on traditional workflow management” said Lois Walters, HRMAJ President.
Moving towards a digital economy will play a critical role as we continue to balance lives and livelihoods as we work toward herd immunity. As such the PSOJ is pleased to be a part of the E-Commerce National Delivery Solution (ENDS) as a digital option to ensure some economic activity during curfew hours, particularly for the micro and small business, which will be piloted in Portmore.
“The MSME Alliance is encouraging our members to apply to become a part of the ENDS platform as we believe that it will play a key role in ensuring business continuity during the curfew hours” said Wignal.
The speed at which our economy recovers and returns to normalcy is in our hands. The PSOJ, and all its member associations, is urging all their members to cooperate with the guidelines and to ensure that their employees and customers are complying with the safety protocols – wearing of masks, hand washing and sanitizing, and keeping the required 6ft distancing and other workplace protocols.