Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that the Government of Jamaica has received over 7,000 applications on the website for the COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees – CARE program – which was launched earlier today.
Speaking at a digital press briefing, the Tourism Minister said, “I am pleased to advise that as of now, the Government of Jamaica’s site for the stimulus package has had 7,000 applications and 6,500 of those applications have already been approved.”
The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, launched the program, to offer financial assistance through grants and relief packages across various sectors.
Tourism is currently one of the most affected sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, The CARE program website includes special components to assist the tourism sector. These include the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash), the Tourism Grant, and the Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) Program, which can also be applied for on the WECARE website.
The Tourism Minister explained that through the CARE program, 19 categories of businesses/workers in the industry are set to benefit. These include:
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed hotels
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed attractions
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed villas
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed apartments
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed water sport operators
- In-Bond Merchants
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed tour operators
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed guest houses
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed home-stay businesses
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed car rentals
- Jamaica Tourist Board licensed bike rentals
- Travel Agency Companies
- Raft Captains
- Craft Vendors
- Craft Producers
- Contract Carriage Businesses
- Airport Red Cap Porters
- Golf Caddies
- Tour Guides
“These categories are in our direct and indirect tourism partners. We then have the induced, such as the thousands who are involved in agriculture, manufacturing, the service industry and a number of other key areas that are central to the tourism delivery system.
They are also going to benefit, based on the document we have received from the Ministry of Finance in the other broad areas,” said Minister Bartlett.
As part of the COVID-19 Task Force, the Tourism Ministry will be driving the implementation of the stimulation package for our tourism stakeholders. The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the Jamaica Tourist Board have been collating data from our sub-sector suppliers (craft-vendors, transportation operators etc.) through Destination Assurance Managers who will need to access these benefits.
“It has become clear, that the pathway for the tourism recovery is being laid – it begins with the workers of the industry. I am proud to say that my Government has made the first and important move, to secure the well-being of the workers in the tourism industry and also for all workers of Jamaica,” said Minister Bartlett.
Applications for the COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) program will close by June 30. Beneficiaries are expected to receive payments within 30 days after application and confirmation that all eligibility requirements are met.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Service has noted that the high number of applications has resulted in users experiencing glitches on the site. However, the team is working assiduously to have the problems resolved.