Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett disclosed on September 22 that south coast resort complex Jakes Hotel and Jack Sprat have achieved 100 per cent staff take up of both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The hotel is said to be the first and only establishment in Jamaica so far to have accomplished this under the tourism vaccination initiative of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association working in tandem with the Private Sector Vaccination Initiative, it was outlined in an MOT release.
Offering commendations, Minister Bartlett said, “I commend Jakes for setting the pace in the drive to get all tourism workers vaccinated. The tourism industry is on the rebound globally and travellers are looking for COVID-safe destinations for their travel experiences. If we are to achieve maximum returns our tourism workers must demonstrate their commitment to protecting themselves, their co-workers, their families and our visitors by taking the life-saving vaccine.”
It was noted that other establishments on the south oast participating in the vaccination initiative are said to be at levels between 40 and 70 per cent, mostly with a first of two-dose vaccines.
Jason Henzell, chairman of Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa, outlined that a staff of 125 people have achieved the milestone. He stated in the release, “Jakes strives to be a good steward of community tourism, knowing that the health and safety of our staff and guests, as well as the wider community of Treasure Beach, and, in fact, Jamaica and the world as a whole are of great importance to us as a resort destination.”
Henzell said the strategy used was by doing “whatever it takes and meeting them wherever” they feel comfortable. “We’ve been spending a lot of time with our staff with regards to educating them on the history of vaccination in Jamaica and the efficacy of each of the COVID-19 vaccines. We arranged for them to meet with doctors, make appointments for them, arrange transportation and even pick them up at their houses, some of them in my own car,” he disclosed.
The hotelier underlined the importance of being empathetic, noting “shaming persons would only serve to push them away.” He said he was pleased that adopting a caring, understanding approach worked, adding: “We’re very proud and we think it will mean a lot to the travel trade.”
Offering advice to others in the industry, he said, “A lot boils down to trust, not rushing them through the process and giving them any reason to feel intimidated.”
He added: “If we are to follow all of the research and all the statistics that have been published, becoming vaccinated gives you a much higher success rate of getting through terrible days of COVID if you become infected, so I strongly suggest that you consider the vaccine and even speak to your doctor about which one might be best suited for you.”