- Entertainment players prepared to wait a bit longer to host events
Two major players in the entertainment space say they are in no rush for the reopening of the industry that is among the heaviest hit due to measures imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has already told Jamaicans that they have to be prepared to live with COVID-19 as the country risks economic calamity if there is a prolongued lockdown of the economy. Work-from-home orders that were issued two months ago will come to an end on Monday, which means that all Jamaicans, except for the elderly and people who are ill, are expected to return to work.
"I wish to remind persons that we don't want to survive the pandemic and die in the recession," Holness said.
Already, players in the tourism sector are gettin ready for a possible reopening, and players in other sectors have been asking when will they get a chance to start earning again.
One man who is in no rush for activities to resume in his sector is popular event promoter, Ian 'Container Boss' Miles.
"We need to watch what is going on in terms of the numbers before we can make any moves. Even when yuh go certain places now, dem still nah let in certain amount of people and entertainment events have massive crowds," Miles said.
Jamaica, as of Thursday, had 569 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. Data from the health ministry indicate that the number of persons testing positive in recent weeks in on the decline. There were no positive cases on Thursday, and 284 have recovered from the COVID-19 disease.
While the Government has been gradually reopening the economy, the strict social distancing and gathering rules remain in place. Persons are also required to wear masks while in public places. These requirements, Miles said, make the hosting of entertainment events very tricky.
"It's going to be hard to maintain social distancing so me personally wouldn't recommend opening up back right now. Give it some more time. Don't be inna nuh haste," he said.
Miles went on to explain that there are ways to slowly start re-introducing entertainment events but he doesn't see it working if people do not adhere to guidelines that will be issued.
"People indiscipline pan a normal basis, so even if we give it a try and we tell a promoter if the venue can hold 500 him must only accommodate 200/250 to maintain social distancing, some people a guh waah guh round it. A better we get things under control first and then we open back up because we nuh wah rush things and then this thing break out even more," Miles said.
"Me prefer deh pan the safer side. I prefer preventative action than correctional actions," he added.
Popular sound system operator Tall Boss, also known as Tall Man from the Di Unit sound system, said although he and his colleagues have been experiencing tremendous losses because of the COVID-19 lockdown, he would rather the Government take its time to get the virus under control before encouraging public gatherings once more.
"I think we all want it to open back up, but I think social distancing is going to be a problem. Wearing masks in a party might be a very uncomfortable situation to deal wid, and then there's the sanitisation issue. Even if we implement sanitisation stations, opening up back is going to come with a lot of health concerns and a lot of scrutiny so we have to just wait and see," he said.
Tall Boss said that getting economy going and having in place strong protocols for the reopening of schools in September should be the main priority.
"Of course, the entertainment industry is very important to the development and growth of the country, but I think we should not be in a rush. We should look at all the pros and the cons, dot all the Is and cross all the Ts first.
"It's not an overnight siddung and say 'we going to open back venues and people can start partying again'. We affi go put some very strict measures in place and look it through thoroughly," the ace selector said.
The organisers of Beach Road Trip (BRT) Weekend revealed this week that they are seeking permission from the Jamaican authorities to stage their party on Emancipation weekend, July 31-August 2. The BRT organisers say they are prepared to work with the Jamaican authorities to institute measures that could lead to the safe staging of their entertainment events. Their plan focuses the implementation of protection measures, including on-site COVID-19 screening by health professionals, disinfectant equipment and areas, revised check-in and bar service procedures, increasing security personnel, and strongly enforcing the wearing of masks.