Holness outlines measures for reopening entertainment sectorTuesday, June 22, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced new measures under which the entertainment sector will be reopened this summer.
Speaking in Parliament today, Holness said the Government is contemplating two categories of events — small events with no more than 100 people in total including organisers and support personnel, and large events with over 100 people.
The prime minister said small events will generally include outdoor concerts, outdoor parties, round robins, festivals, community events, corporate mixers, handing over and ground breaking ceremonies and other events of this nature.
He said the organisers of small events will be allowed to make applications for permits as they would normally do through their local authorities and the Government will work them to ensure that the protocols are in place for a safe event.
Holness noted that the Municipal Corporations have agreed to reduce the cost for permits and licenses by 50 per cent.
For small indoor events — events that are held in a covered area with a controlled entry — the Government has put a cap on the number of people who can attend, which is to be determined as 60 per cent of the usable square footage not including bathrooms and kitchens divided by 40 square feet which is the social distancing provision or 100 people — whichever is lower.
However, for public sector events such as handing-overs or ground-breaking, there can only be a maximum number of 50 people in attendance.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said the organisers of large events will go through an additional layer of approval.
He said organisers must first send an application to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports which will then review the application to see that it meets the requirements, and if satisfied, it will forward the application to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
Holness said ODPEM will then consult with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Municipal Corporations, the police, fire and all other relevant authorities, and when they are satisfied that the application for the event to be held at the specified place and time has met the threshold and the standards, it will be approved.
He noted that large events would include stage shows, Church conventions, conferences, crusades and festivals.
The prime minister said the same will apply to general and special meetings of companies, corporative societies, friendly societies or industrial or prominent societies.
Reminding the public and the entertainment sector that protocols are to be observed and highlighting the difference between small and large events, Holness warned that “whoever we find in breach will be prosecuted”.
He also noted that the government will not mandate for individuals attending entertainment events to be vaccinated but said if private event holders wish to include such requirements to market their events, they are free to do so.
He added that, in support of the sector's reopening, the Government is prepared to offer certain Government owned venues to the organisers of large events rent free.
“So this is our contribution to the industry. We will waive the normal rental cost and organisers would be required to cover only the operating costs such as utilities and security costs,” Holness said.
He said the list of venues so far includes:
- Facilities under the management of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport including the National Stadium complex and the Trelawny Stadium,14 Fort Rocky and Fort Charles as part of the Port Royal Entertainment Zone, Seville and the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre; and
- Facilities under the management of the Port Authority of Jamaica including the Falmouth Pier and the Port Royal Pier.
In addition, the prime minister said to signal the reopening of the entertainment sector as well as to demonstrate how a large event could be hosted with the proper protocols, the Government will be organising a Concert on July 1, 2021 at the Port Royal Cruise Terminal in celebration of International Reggae Day.
He said further details will be announced by Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange.
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