Promoters not excited about entertainment proposals - Cautiously looking at working plan for sector’s reopening

January 26, 2021
Patrons at a staging of Boom Sundays.
Patrons at a staging of Boom Sundays.

Promoters of weekly events are cautious about proposals put forward by Kamal Bankay, a member of the Entertainment Advisory Board, to allow for a reopening of the entertainment sector.

Among other things, Bankay is calling for temperature checks on entry and establishing clear plastic barriers between patrons and staff.

For larger events, Bankay has also suggested, "creating a temporary bubble". This he said, involves approved PCR and antigen tests portraying a negative result within 24 hours of the event start time for staff and patrons, who will then receive an armband showing their negative COVID-19 status. There will also be on-site rapid testing facilities.

But Winston 'Wee Pow' Powell of the legendary Stone Love sound system, and host of Weddy Weddy Wednesdays, says he is not getting excited over any proposals.

"I don't want to get ahead of myself but I am looking for the reopening to happen right now, not in a few months. Sadly the events industry is being neglected - the Government not doing anything for the events industry, take it from a forerunner," he told THE STAR. "Because of that neglect, me nuh even want to hear nothing bout Reggae Month, me a boycott it. The protocols that we hear every day about masks and sanitising did work and could still work but it has to be practical. Testing every week at an event now, that sticky, it going be hard and who would supply the testing unit? If the Government can help with that then, maybe, yeah."

Obeying the rules

Selector Boom Boom, host of Boom Sundays, said when the industry had the phased reopening last summer, weekly events like his were obeying the rules and trying to enforce them.

"The main challenge is when di people come inna di venue and remove the masks to have a drink and under the influence of alcohol and music don't want to put it back on. Maybe there is a way we can all work together to regulate the rules," he said.

The selector says some of the existing protocols and guidelines make sense and having heard Bankay's proposals, he reiterated that the problem, "is that people need fi work with the protocols".

Despite other entities such as restaurants and gyms being allowed to resume business, he noted that party venues, live shows and the street dances that contribute directly to the promotion and growth of Jamaica's culture on a weekly basis, are still on lockdown. Boom Boom said that while he agrees with compulsory PCR and antigen testing for larger events, the public has to agree.

He said "Me woulda support that 100 per cent because at least it would show people status, from dem negative let dem in. Anyways, me nuh waan get too excited, though everybody a seh things must open back even if is in time for carnival. Life can be unfair."

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