Jamaican workers affected by technicality in Cayman’s COVID protocol | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News

A Caymanian businessperson who hires staff from different parts of the world said that she encountered an issue with how Cayman’s COVID-19 protocols will impact her ability to onboard new Jamaican staff.

Initially, the Caymanian businesswoman thought that after November 20 staff hires would be fairly straightforward and quarantine requirements would be dropped in some cases, especially in instances where staff tested negative and were fully vaccinated.

However, while making arrangements for her two new Jamaican staff members, who are scheduled to arrive this week, she was told by authorities that the new Jamaican workers must do a period of quarantine.

She said that this is not due to any incoming employees testing positive, but because, according to the Travel Cayman website, Jamaica would fall within the category of a country that does not have the vaccination rate stipulated by protocols.

In this case, the Travel Cayman site said quarantine is not required for:

Securely verifiable fully vaccinated travellersNon-securely verifiable fully vaccinated travellers who travel from a country with vaccination rates that are 60% or higher for the first dose of the vaccine and where those travellers spent at least 14 days prior to the date of travelCaymanians/Permanent Residents who were fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine (locally or overseas).

The second bullet point is what currently affects new Jamaican workers coming to Cayman from Jamaica.

First, the term “non-securely verifiable fully vaccinated person” under the COVID-19 regulations means a person who has completed an approved vaccine course but whose vaccination certificate cannot be securely verified.

Second, the protocol requires Jamaica to have a vaccination rate of 60 per cent or higher for the first dose.

Unfortunately, according to data available on November 21 on the website of the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica’s vaccination rate for the first dose is still less than 60 per cent.

The technicality means that Jamaica does not currently meet the protocol requirements stated on the Travel Cayman website.

As a result, the Caymanian businessperson said she was told by authorities that her incoming Jamaican employees must complete a 10-day quarantine.

She said that one of the knock-on effects of this is that the employees will not be able to immediately start work as scheduled, even if they test negative and are fully vaccinated. Customers who were expecting services will now have to wait, which is added pressure for a business that is recovering from challenges faced by COVID-19.

The other issue is that, since quarantine will be required, the accommodation arrangements will now be impacted as one of the staff members had arranged to rent a section of a house where there are other occupants.

For the Caymanian businessperson, it is unclear why the protocol applies to a whole country where a worker may originate since it is the status of the individual worker that is important. In this case, the workers have taken a full course of approved vaccines and have not tested positive.