Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has announced that the construction industry has been included in the relevant exemption schedules, under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
“Construction is an area where we can get quick projects going. We are, therefore, amending the Disaster Risk Management Order No. 4 to allow for persons employed or contracted to undertake construction by any person or entity to whom a licence or permit to carry out such construction is issued, to be included in the relevant exemption schedules under the Disaster Risk Management Order,” he said.
The Prime Minister was speaking in the House of Representatives on April 28, as he outlined plans to revive the economy.
He said members of the industry should be able to move about during the period of the curfew, once they are going to do their duties on a construction site.
“It does not mean that they are not under the general health rules. They are still required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing,” Mr. Holness explained.
He said that work sites are required to instal handwashing and sanitisation stations.
“In terms of gathering, it might be difficult on a construction site to enforce the gathering because of the nature of the construction, so we will not enforce the gathering of 10, but they must maintain social distance. It is an industry that we should not allow to be unnecessarily affected by the measures and have that industry return quickly to economic activity,” he said.
Mr. Holness announced that a Task Force will be established to conduct site inspections to ensure compliance with the Orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The contractors or the employers have a duty, under the Disaster Risk Management Orders, that if they see someone on the site who is ill…they should send them home, and they have a duty to put in place the detection mechanism to ensure that the workers coming on their site are not coming with symptoms,” he said.
He noted that construction workers, as well as all citizens, have a duty to stay home if they are ill with respiratory illnesses or flu-like symptoms, isolate themselves at home and seek medical attention if their symptoms worsen.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said that all relevant agencies have been directed to “carefully examine their suite of projects, in particular those that are close to shovel ready, with the aim of prioritising projects that are best aligned to the economic recovery plan”.
“Approval of any project will be subject to the new Supplementary Estimates,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
He said instructions were issued to various approval and permitting agencies to use this low period of activity to clear up any project approval backlog that may exist. “This will enable the private construction sector to increase the pace of their current activities,” he added.
Source: JIS News