Government Considers Allowing Some Quick Service Industries to Operate During Curfew Hours
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that a Cabinet sub-committee is working with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) to develop a model through which the quick service industry may be able to operate during curfew hours.
Speaking yesterday (February 28, 2021), at a media briefing to update the country on changes made to the Disaster Risk Management Act, Prime Minister Holness noted that businesses have found innovative ways to serve the public through the growth of the delivery economy. This, he said, is evidenced by the emergence of several online malls and food delivery apps.
“I had a presentation from the PSOJ a few nights ago which showed how delivery could be done. So, we have a subcommittee of Cabinet looking at how we could implement it. We have agreed that we will test it in a geographical area, and as soon as those details are refined, we will bring that solution to the country,” said Prime Minister Holness.
This, the Prime Minister also stated, is the Government’s attempt to keep production going during the curfew hours.
The Prime Minister said: “In doing a balancing act of controlling the spread of the virus and maintaining production, we recognize businesses in the quick service industry, such as restaurants, are finding it very difficult. I note that the restaurant industry does not only include established stores, but also small businesses like the pan chicken man on Red Hills road, in Liguanea and in Olympic Way, they are a part of that quick service industry”.
Prime Minister Holness noted that the quick service industry employs a significant number of Jamaicans and contributes to the income of many households. He also added that with the curfew in place, the loss of income in the sector is significant.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister underscored that the Government and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica are working to ensure that the agreed model is inclusive and open to all, including the pan chicken vendor.
“It is not beyond the Government to find solutions to the emergence of the delivery economy as businesses migrate online. The question for the Government is how we facilitate delivery during curfew hours. Many issues would have to be resolved, like the question of equity and how do we facilitate the pan chicken man,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In the meantime, the Government also plans to make some consideration for the sports industry.
The Prime Minister said, “We would like to see the resumption of sporting activities, but we would want to see it done safely. We observe that the various sporting associations are coming on board with plans, but now, it would be inconsistent with the challenges that we face if we were to approve. We will still consider them and work with them to ensure that we refine the arrangements, and as soon as we are out of this danger zone, we can start to look at how we can get the sporting sector back up and running”.
Prime Minister Holness thanked the sporting sector for their patience as the Government works strategically to put measures in place to revamp the industry.