Topless females attract patrons as Jamaicans ignore COVID rules
Despite the island-wide curfew that is in effect, the nights across the Corporate Area are very much alive. Last Friday night, three days after Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie decried the rampant non-compliance with the Disaster Risk Management Act, his appeal for Jamaicans to observe the COVID-control legislation appears to have been largely ignored.
Even after 10 p.m., the designated start of the nightly curfews, the scent of chicken permeated the air as jerk chicken vendors chopped and served chicken to many customers waiting in line. Another attention grabber was the blaring music and disco lights that escaped bars and other entertainment hubs, that were packed with mask-less patrons.
One bar in the Corporate Area had two topless dancers, with their breasts for everyone to see, entertaining occupants, sipping on their liquor of choice.
"A our people dem here. Nobody nuh new suh we nuh have nothing fi worry bout," one man told THE STAR after an intimate dance with one of the women.
They couldn't get any closer - the topless dancer commanded the space, whining on the elated, beer drinking man who was trying to match her energy. There were no masks in sight.
"Yuh affi take off di mask before yuh go in. Yuh caa wear nuh mask inna the bar... Yuh just a go look like the odd one out," one person said.
Behind them, gamers, also mask-less, were side by side taking turns on poker boxes. Under the Disaster Risk Management Act, games such poker boxes must be placed at least six feet apart to ensure social and physical distance.
The story of non-compliance was similar in Spanish Town, St Catherine. "A Christmas time now enuh, so you ago find that a nuff people deh pon the road. Either people a work late shift fi get more pay fi Christmas, or dem just nuh waah stay ina the house nuh more," one vendor said, as he made change for a $5,000 note.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said last Tuesday that approximately 3,000 violators of the act have been arrested since March 30. Among other things, the Disaster Risk Management Act requires the maintenance of a six-feet physical distancing between persons, mask-wearing, and adherence to a nightly curfew that starts at 10 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. the next day.
273 persons have died
One vendor told THE STAR that there was greater compliance with the law in the earlier period, but persons have thrown caution to the wind even though at least 273 persons have died from the disease which has infected nearly 12,000 persons locally.
"Inna the early part, we never really a see dem crowd here, but me feel like seh the people dem nuh fraid a COVID nuh more. Business a business. As long as me a protect myself me good. And truly, police nuh really trouble we... A two police vehicle pass me since night."
Along the same road, there were multiple bars side by side with doors wide open and patrons unmindful of the time. At 10:15 p.m., bartenders were putting more liquor on ice, anticipating more orders.
"We have a full house. Most a di people dem live right round the corner, suh a nuh long distance fi dem go home if nothing," one bartender said.