Non-essential employees to work from home

March 17, 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Chris Tufton

Effective Wednesday, March 18, all non-essential employees across government and the private sector will be required to work from home for seven days.

The measure is part of new restrictions to contain the risk of transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which were announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during a press briefing at Jamaica House on Monday, March 16.

Describing non-essential work as “that which can be done outside of the traditional office setting”, Holness said that he will be instructing Permanent Secretaries within the various ministries, departments and agencies to “look at their operations and to determine where those non-essential work are”.

“And to be clear, this is not sending people home to do nothing, because I know that some people are looking for a holiday.  We have not declared a public holiday; what we are saying is,let us move some of the work to the home,” he said.

He emphasised that the Government is not shutting down the economy.

The other restrictions, which also take effect on Wednesday, include a cutting back on hospital visits to one-person per day, per patient, and a scaling down of outpatient clinics.

In addition, bars, nightclubs and places of entertainment must be closed.

Holness said that supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, takeout restaurants, corner shops and the food market would be allowed to remain open.

However, he noted that no more than 20 persons should be found assembling at any one of those places and persons using these facilities should always maintain social distancing and practise sanitising and washing of hands.

As it relates, to the food market, the Prime Minister said those will be allowed to open from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

He said, further, that funerals and weddings should be limited to a group of no more than 20 persons.

As it relates to public passenger vehicles, the Prime Minister said that the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and Montego Bay Metro buses will now be required to carry only seated passengers, while the taxis will be required to transport one less passenger than what they are licensed to carry.

The restrictions will be reviewed after five days.

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