No entry fee but life vests required at Blue Lagoon

PORT ANTONIO, Portland – There will be no entry fee when the popular Blue Lagoon reopens on June 1 but a raft of measures will be in place during a three-month-long first phase of the refurbished attraction, including mandatory use of life vests and an hourly limit on the number of visitors.

Director of public education, public relations, and communication at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) Lorna Bailey provided an update during Thursday’s regular monthly meeting of the Portland Municipal Corporation. In addition to confirming the corporation’s announcement at its April meeting that operations would, in fact, resume in June, Bailey provided a clear road map of the progress made on the controversial project up to this point and what still needs to be accomplished.

During phase one, she said, only non-motorised and minimal commercial activity will be allowed during the opening hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily and the volume of users will be monitored. Rest rooms and changing rooms will be available, but no food and drinks will be allowed.

“We are looking at allowing a maximum 45 persons within the space at any given time, and looking to have a rotation on the hour, every hour, as we cannot allow for too many persons to be in the space. The space has to be controlled,” noted Bailey.

“Persons entering the water to swim will be required to wear a life jacket. Persons have the option of taking their own life jacket or renting a life jacket at a cost from the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. Persons with kayaks and other non-motorised equipment will be allowed to use the space and will also be required to wear a life jacket,” she added.

Bailey also provided details on how to access the venue, one of the issues that have been raised during protests by residents concerned that they will no longer be welcome at the famous venue.

“They will access Blue Lagoon via the Blue Hole Road and through private properties [with] which we are still in negotiations. The final details of those negotiations are being worked out as we speak,” said the JNHT representative.

“There will be no parking along Blue Hole Road and the Drapers main road. Parking will be at Tropical Lagoon Resort Limited, at a cost. Persons will be allowed to drive down to Blue Hole Road, drop off their guest at Blue Lagoon, turn, then proceed to parking at Tropical Lagoon,” she added.

Bailey explained that there will be JNHT staff on site to ensure that operations go smoothly.

“There will be an administrative officer, there will be monument guards, janitors to facilitate the cleaning of the rest rooms and cleaning of the grounds and maintain the area. There will be lifeguards on duty and also a private security company will be contracted to provide security personnel and policing along the Blue Hole Road,” she said via a Zoom call.

For guests’ safety, there will also be markers installed in the water to clearly differentiate the shallow from the deeper areas. Signage will make the venue more user-friendly, while storyboards will provide historical and scientific information about the protected Blue Lagoon, its flora and fauna.

The Blue Lagoon has been closed for nine months as the JNHT and other stakeholders give it a facelift. An assessment will be done after phase one of the reopening. The second and third phases will see commercial activities rolled out within the space.