Mandatory vaccination for tourism workers as Dominica prepares for the return of cruise ships

Dominica News Online – As Dominica prepares for the return of cruise ships, which officials say will commence in June 2021, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that his government will amend the certification criteria to include vaccination for those involved in the sector.

According to the Prime Minister, these measures need to be implemented for the safety of both visitors and locals, and to grow the economy back to the place it once was.

“Similar to how the food handlers’ license is done – that you have to go and do a tuberculosis test, etc., before you can get the food handlers license – and for good reason … if you want our bank account to start receiving income in the manner in which we were receiving it in 2019.”

The Prime Minister also stated that along with the new protocols which will be put in place for tourism and hospitality workers, adjustments will also be made for cruise passengers wishing to explore the island.

“You cannot be a tour guide and not want to get vaccinated, because the person who is going to want you to take them to Titou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls and the boiling lake, they are going to want to know that you are vaccinated because they are going to want to protect themselves,” he reasoned. “And they are going to demand that they will only go on a tour with people who are vaccinated and the person would have a right to demand so.”

Skerrit further noted that vendors who will be in daily contact with visitors would need that added “amour of defence with the vaccine” and further emphasized the importance of those in the hospitality and tourism sector getting vaccinated.

“So, it is important for us to recognize that we have to set aside all these things we read on YouTube and Facebook and all these social media platforms. It is important for us to read those things, but we need to understand what we are reading to comprehend what we are reading and to understand what is in our best interest,” the prime minister said.

Skerrit admitted that this comes with risks, “but we have to recognize the need for us to get back to a state of normalcy”.

He gave the assurance that his government had not taken the decision lightly and had done so in consultation with the cruise lines, regional counterparts and stakeholders in Dominica.

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