An Order was gazetted on March 24 (THE DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT ACT; THE DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT (ENFORCEMENT MEASURES) (NO. 2) ORDER, 2020), with restrictions placed on people based on their age. It reads as follows:

6.—(1) For the period from the 25th day of March, 2020, to the 7th day of April, 2020—

(a) no person employed to the Government who has attained the age of 65 years or more, other than persons—

(i) employed in any undertaking or entity referred to in any of paragraphs 5(2)(a), (b), (c), (d), (g), (h), (i), (k) (l) or (o); or

(ii) authorised under paragraph 5(2)(p),

shall be required to attend at the person’s place of employment and shall, to the extent possible, work from home; and

(b) all other persons who can work from home should do so.

(2) During the period referred to in sub-paragraph (1), an employer shall have a duty, if satisfied that an employee is able to discharge the duties of that employee from the employee’s place of residence, to grant the employee permission to do so without imposing any adverse consequences to the employee in respect thereof.

(3) An employee whose assigned tasks can only be discharged at the place of employment is required to attend for work at that place during the period referred to in sub-paragraph (1) unless otherwise permitted by the employer as part of the employer’s measures to combat the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus COVID-19) at the place of employment.

(4) The grant of permission to an employee under sub-paragraph (2) or (3) shall not count against the leave entitlements of that employee, unless otherwise agreed between the employer and employee.

7.—(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 6, a person who has attained the age of 75 years or more shall remain within that person’s abode or place of residence, except that the person may once per day leave that abode or place of residence for food, medicine or other necessities of life.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) shall not apply to any person employed in any undertaking or entity referred to in paragraph 5(2)(g) or (h), or in any service or activity authorised under paragraph 5(2)(p).

Simply put: over 65, work from home; over 75, stay home, but allowed one daily excursion for essentials.

It’s worth noting an important group affected, who are key to the running of the country.

Someone kindly posted this on Twitter yesterday:

https://twitter.com/realteddylee/status/1242414597518364672?s=21

MPS WHO SHOULD WORK FROM HOME BECAUSE THEY’RE OVER THE AGE OF 65, OR STAY HOME.

JLP(12) VS PNP(7)

**Mike Henry 84
$$Pearnel Charles Snr 84
*Karl Samuda 78
Robert Pickersgill 77
JC Hutchinson 76
Ronald Thwaites 75
*Olivia Grange 73
Derrick Kellier 72
Peter Phillips 70
*Delroy Chuck 69

*Edmund Barlett 69
Fenton Ferguson 68
Everald Warmington 68
*Horace Chang 67
*Desmond McKenzie 67
Denise Daley 67
Evon Redman 67
*Audley Shaw 67
Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert age unknown

Those with * are cabinet ministers; Mike Henry (**) is a minister without portfolio; Pearnel Charles Snr is Speaker of the House.

The PM alluded to the fact that the Constitution requires certain duties of elected and nominated officials, so those listed above may get exemptions. That begs several questions, including whether the risks the group faces and could inflict on others outweigh the benefits the country gains from their being present in Parliament. It also begs questions about how and where the business of government can and should be performed. As with many things that are now to be part of ‘standard’ work practices, facilitating working from home for MPs and Senators needs to be be given some priority, with various security considerations clearly in play.

The PM has stated that he will be working from home, and I take that standard to apply to all of the above. If not, we ought to get a full and convincing explanation.

I appeared (as a director of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) briefly on Beyond The Headlines last night, with Prof. Eldemire-Shearer, to talk about the restrictions in general and its effects on the targeted group. A major concern was how people would come with those essentials that cannot be dealt with at home, eg hospital visits, and who and what could offer support. CCRP will try to mobilize churches to find volunteers to help in that regard.

https://twitter.com/ccrpjamaica/status/1242601807592988672?s=21