Entertainment sector, day-care centres reopen July 21

Entertainment sector, day-care centres reopen July 21

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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THE Government yesterday announced the restart of live entertainment, as well as social activities, including summer camps and nurseries, on a trial basis, starting next Tuesday, July 21.

In addition, the age limit for seniors allowed to participate in public activities is to be increased from 65 to 75 years.

Making the announcements in the House of Representatives, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie said that rules affecting operations at day-care centres (nurseries), summer day camps, gaming lounges, amusement parks, sports bars, as well as the staging of limited outside entertainment events will be relaxed during the period.

He said, however, that the order does not relate to nightclubs, and that gaming lounges will not be allowed to open up for gambling.

He also warned that, unless the protocols are observed, there is a danger of the relaxation of the closures being withdrawn, based on reviews and responses from the sector and the public.

“The events to which I refer include small outdoor concerts, parties, round-robins, launches, religious celebrations, and festivals,” McKenzie told the House.

He warned that, in addition to social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitising rules, these events will be subjected to strict protocols.

Under the protocols:

* No event can be held without a permit. Applications must be made to municipal corporations for permits and must have the correct address, approximate size, a recent dated picture of the proposed venue, and proposed layout of the event.

* All approved events must end one hour before the start of the nightly curfew, which starts at 11:00 pm. No more than 280 people can gather for an event. This means a maximum 250 patrons, and no more than 30 additional production personnel, including performers and staff. There must also be visible signs, such as tape on floors or other markings to ensure that patrons observe all protocols, including social distancing.

* The bar area is only to be used for purchasing drinks. No gathering is allowed. No obstruction of public thoroughfares, of vehicular traffic, or of access to private premises is allowed. The provisions of the Noise Abatement Act also apply to these events, and will be enforced.

McKenzie said all facilities that are being conditionally reopened and all events are subject to inspections by officials from the ministries of local government; health and wellness; and culture, gender, entertainment and sport; as well as municipal corporations and the police.

“This is a joined-up Government approach which will feature the employment of over 1,000 young people to ensure the effectiveness of the exercise. Some 350 will come from the ministry's Youth Summer Employment Programme, and over 800 are being trained by the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” McKenzie said.

He also said there will be a sensitisation and monitoring team comprising staff from the Social Development Commission, Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.


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