Barbados: The Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association – BHTA, Geoffrey Roach, has expressed concern over the speed of COVID-19 vaccinations and stated that boosting vaccinations among tourism workers is the way of aiding the speedy recovery of the tourism sector.
During BHTA’s Virtual Annual General Meeting, Roach asserted that BHTA did a meeting with the BWU and the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Tourism to press discussions on the necessity to develop COVID-19 vaccination standards across the industry and address the matter of the testing of team members.
He informed that the average percentage of staff vaccinated in the region is around 30 per cent.
The chief executive officer of Terra Caribbean – Andrew Mallalieu, also addressed the meeting and stated, “So within our industry, the certain properties
where the staff have been fully vaccinated would notice higher occupancy, which means that where there are options for staff, where a particular chef is assigned to a house, or a particular housekeeper, or a particular laundress, it is those who have been vaccinated that would likely get the most work.”
In reply, Labour Minister Colin E Jordan stated that the COVID-19 vaccine
is not compulsory, and companies cannot force employees to get themselves vaccinated.
He added, “Now, in times of where the science is, the matter of transmission of the virus, the science is still saying to us that for the virus to be transmitted, there has to be close, prolonged contact, and that contact has to be in a situation where there are no barriers between the virus in one person and the mucous membranes of another individual.”
The Labour Minister further warned employers to be more careful about ordering on vaccination, as he repeated that vaccination is not compulsory nationally.