At the stakeholder meeting on Monday chaired by Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis, the Joint Chambers again expressed their strong support for the safe zone concept and committed to working closely with the Government and other stakeholders to successfully implement the plan.
The Joint Chambers include Amcham TT, the Energy Chamber, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Coalition of Service Industries, and the TT Manufacturers Association.
They noted reports of a sharp increase on Monday in the number of people being vaccinated in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement last week of the introduction of safe zones. This, they said, was extremely encouraging news.
The safe zones – comprising cinemas, casinos, gyms, bars and in-house restaurant dining – will be launched on October 11, Dr Rowley announced at a press conference last Thursday.
These businesses will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity, must have fully vaccinated workers on site and will cater only to fully vaccinated customers.
The Joint Chambers said that as acknowledged by all parties during the stakeholder meeting with Robinson-Regis, details of the implementation of the plans, and the associated employment issues, need to be fully resolved before the launch.
Nevertheless, they gave a commitment to working with all stakeholders to make this a reality.
The Joint Chambers also expressed support, in principle, for the draft workplace covid19 vaccination policy developed by an industrial relations advisory committee, which the Ministry of Labour presented to stakeholders during the meeting.
The Joint Chambers joined with the Trade Union Federations in calling for the draft policy to be finalised, circulated, and tabled for implementation, as a matter of urgency.
The draft includes proposals for the introduction of additional regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
They said employers have a duty of care to their employees, customers, and other visitors under the OSH Act. It is therefore imperative that employers are given clear guidance about any specific vaccination requirements they could reasonably be expected to implement, in response to specific levels of risk that exists in their facilities.
The Joint Chambers reiterated their strong and continued support for vaccinations as the only currently available method to get out of the pandemic without the imposition of highly restrictive public lockdowns, which they said have been damaging to the economy, to society and to individual mental health.