by Howard Campbell
LOS ANGELES – Heading into 2020, Shelly Ann Cawley had more reason to ring in the new year. Her company, Travelers Care, celebrated its first anniversary and the Jamaican entrepreneur was looking to expand her fledgling enterprise.
But in March, COVID-19 began its devastating surge, crippling the airline industry which is the lifeblood of Cawley’s Los Angeles-based business. Travelers Care caters to senior citizens who find it challenging flying alone. In addition to LA, Cawley has contract workers in New York, Florida and Kingston, her hometown.
“COVID-19 has tremendously impacted Travelers Care, resulting in the temporary shutdown of the business. Because we fly with our customers on commercial airlines, their casualties in turn affected us. We have now put some steps in place as we resume service by aligning our self with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and airline guidelines as well as taking extra safety measures,” she said.
Those measures include:
(1) Ensuring all Travelers Care Travel companions are screened for COVID-19.
(3) We sanitize our seating areas for customer and ourselves.
(4) We follow CDC recommendations of wearing masks and we will provide a mask to our customer in the event they do not have one.
For Cawley, the summer of 2020 will be like starting over. Funding is strictly out-of-pocket as Travelers Care did not qualify for government assistance because, “Our Travelers Care companions are considered contractors and not employees, and companions work on a call basis.”
Cawley launched Travelers Care after working in the Jamaican hotel and airline industries for over 20 years. Having assisted seniors and minors fly during her time with Air Jamaica, such a venture seemed natural.
She admits reviving Travelers will be no easy takeoff.
“Because passenger air travel has been the fastest vector for virus transmission, assurance of public safety is a major challenge. The public is understandably wary about travel now, and they need some assurance and instructions on how and where to return safely to traveling,” said Cawley. “As more and more countries begin to open their borders, trusted, robust passenger information will be vital to helping ensure traveler confidence.”