‘It’s in our hands’ - Babsy begs for compliance as sector prepares to reopen

June 25, 2021

Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Jamaica's entertainment minister, has urged industry practitioners and members of the public to exercise strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocols.

The sector has been in lockdown for almost a year and health authorities have deemed events such as parties, concerts and round robins as fertile ground for the spread of COVID-19. However, it is set to reopen on July 1 as the Government relaxes restrictions to allow for more economic activities. Despite the major public health indicators, including significant reductions in the number of new COVID-19 cases and the reproduction rate constantly declining, Grange said there is the danger that the situation could change quickly.

"It's in our hands," Grange said.

"I'm making a special appeal to the industry; I'm making a special appeal to the stakeholders. I'm making a very special plea to the public who will attend these events: you're going to have to observe the protocols, you're going to have to wear your masks, you're going to have to sanitise, you're going to have to keep your distance, and you're going to have to appreciate the fact that you have a personal responsibility and that our future is in your hands," the minister said.

Maximum of 100 people

As of July 1, the Government will lift the prohibition on entertainment events such as outdoor concerts, parties, round robins, festivals, community events, corporate mixers, as well as handing-over and ground-breaking ceremonies.

The organisers of small events, defined as activities with a maximum of 100 people in attendance, will be allowed to make applications for permits through their local authorities.

However, the organisers of large events - with more than 100 people in attendance - must begin their application process with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

The ministry will provide guidance and support towards final submission to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, the entity that grants permission for events to take place.

Grange stressed that it would take "personal and professional responsibility to host events safely and enable entertainment practitioners and those who depend on entertainment to build back their livelihoods. We cannot afford to fail."

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