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Sector set for full-scale reopening

Saturday, August 01, 2020

After a reported $26-b loss, the local entertainment sector has been gradually reopening since July 21. One of those companies seeking to push that revival is the A & A Event Furnishings and Decor.

Since March, a host of events were cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We had to lay off 70 per cent of our workers, we only managed to keep open by being creative...for example, we use the company truck to move different items for businesses to create a new income stream. I would have to say our estimated loss because of the pandemic is any where in excess of 15 million,” Anthony Taylor, one of the principals at A & A Event Furnishings and Decor, told Jamaica Observer.

Taylor is hoping that the industry can rebound quickly now that plans have been announced for a phased reopening.

“I am expecting live events on a small scale and back to normal as soon as October 2020 or December 2020,” he said.

Recently, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie announced in Parliament a phased reopening of the industry. He indicated that small outdoor events like round robins and festivals can be held, as of July 21, until July 31. Amusement parks, water attractions and sports bars would also be allowed to temporarily resume operations during that period. Additionally, approved events must not have more than 250 patrons, with a maximum of another 30 persons comprising individuals such as event staff and performers, also in attendance.

In the meantime, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said that the devastating effects on the sectors forced the Ministry of Finance to create a special fund, valued at $40 million, to assist both entertainment fraternity members as well as sports persons who have been affected by the pandemic.

Established in 2016, the company has provided services for events such as Sandz, Dream Weekend, Vacae Weekend, The Great Weekend, Rebel Salute, Daybreak, and Allure.

“We took a big hit but we are ready to bounce back, we are already getting bookings for upcoming events such as Ratings and Ova Suh. We have to just get up and do it, we fund our business 100 per cent, and we're waiting on the full-scale re-openings to get back to normal,” he said.