Friday, April 24, 2020

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The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly impacted operations at the Island Traffic Authority's depot at Swallowfield in St Andrew.

A visit by the Jamaica Observer Wednesday saw people who were not wearing masks being told to leave the premises by the lead examiner on duty.

“We cannot accommodate you without a mask. The prime minister said we are not to accommodate persons who are not wearing their masks [so] if you do not have a mask on you cannot stay here,” the examiner insisted.

While employees were masked for the most part, the Observer witnessed one female in the administrative office without a mask at one point as well as one male. Other employees were overheard instructing the female to don a mask when she exited the building en route to another area on the premises.

Motor vehicle fitness checks are also different in nature.

Vehicles, upon ascending the ramps, are checked as customary for functioning headlamps, park lights, windscreen wipers, horns and signalling indicators. No attempts were, however, made to inspect the undercarriage of the vehicles as is normally done. Vehicles are also not test-driven by examiners, as would be done at other times.

Asked whether vehicles were being driven at all one examiner disclosed, “not currently because of the whole COVID thing; we shouldn't even be here but you know, we have to be here so we have to do some static checks” to ensure standards are observed.

Asked what guarantee there was that defective vehicles were not slipping through the cracks he said: “We have our checks that we do. [As] you know, we are the experts.”

Asked whether a vehicle with defective braking could be picked up by those 'expert' eyes, he said “all of those are being looked out for”.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Monday said all Jamaicans are mandated to wear masks in public spaces.

The Government had previously ordered persons with flu-like symptoms and respiratory illnesses, individuals over the age of 65, and others with underlying conditions such as diabetes or hypertension to wear a mask in public. But on Monday Holness said that had now changed and everyone is required to wear masks as part of several new and adjusted measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

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With signs that the COVID-19 pandemic isn't anywhere near ending, how are you coping?
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