Tourism-related businesses will not be allowed to benefit from visitor arrivals after December 1 if they don’t obtain certification that proves their businesses are operating in a safe manner.
In a speech to the territory Monday night, Premier Fahie said the certification is known as the BVI Tourist Board-H Lavity Stoutt Community College (BVITB-HLSCC) Gold Seal Certification.
He said hotels, other accommodations, restaurant operations and other industry amenities that are critical services in the tourist industry have already been advised of how they can create a safe environment for workers and guests.
“HLSCC, Culinary & Hospitality Studies Department have designed a programme to prepare workers to re-enter the tourism industry with health and safety at its core in the new regular of living and working with COVID-19. Participants must attend all online sessions of the programme to be eligible to receive internationally-recognised certification,” the Premier explained.
He added: “Businesses must also be certified by the Environmental Health Department, and must obtain permission for reopening from the Premier’s Office, through the BVI Tourist Board, based on having achieved the necessary certification.”
Premier Fahie said the BVITB-HLSCC Gold Seal certification is not just for internal purposes but will help to ensure visitors are not being put at risk, that they get quality treatment, and that the BVI has an organised system for contact tracing.
He also added that by “achieving certification, it conveys to the prospective visitor that your property or your business has met the requirements to provide some assurance for their safety”.
All businesses would also be required to check the temperature and record the name and contact details of all visitors to their establishments. This will help with contact tracing in case people come in contact with COVID-19 infected persons.
Compliance task force established
To ensure compliance after the December 1 reopening, Premier Fahie said the BVI Tourist Board is establishing a compliance unit tasked with conducting checks on establishments.
“This will ensure that our Gold Seal businesses are keeping Gold Seal standards. As we endeavour to live and work with COVID-19 under the new regular, we must accept that many things have changed regarding how the world operates, and how businesses operate,” the Premier said.
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