Holness to make long-awaited announcement on reopening of entertainment sectorTuesday, June 22, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The local entertainment sector, which has been waiting with bated breath for more than a year, will know on Tuesday when and how the industry will be reopened.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness will give details on the opening up of the sector during a ministerial statement in the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon.
The extent of the reopening will take into consideration the fact that only about two per cent of the Jamaican population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with only six per cent receiving a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
While COVID-19 infections have been relatively low over the past several weeks when compared to record high daily infections of up to 800 in February, the government will be mindful of the low vaccination rates. The Administration will also be mindful of the fact that when the sector was opened briefly last summer, there were numerous breaches of the health protocols that fall under the Disaster Risk Management Act. This prompted the government to quickly pull the plug on entertainment activities and they have remained banned ever since.
As a result, many artistes, promoters and persons who make a living through vending at entertainment events have not earned a salary in more than a year.
Some entertainers have received an income in recent months as the tourism industry slowly rebounds and their services are needed in hotels. However, the vast majority remain without income.
During her contribution to the Sectoral Debate earlier this month, Minister with responsibility for entertainment, Olivia Grange said that in preparation for the reopening of the entertainment industry, “we have engaged in consultations with members of the sector as well as colleagues in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management on the prevailing health conditions in the country as well as the specific protocols that would have to be employed for particular activities”.
Grange said that as with the resumption of sports, the resumption of entertainment will have to be a gradual process that will see capacity limits as well as authorised venues where the necessary safety protocols can be implemented.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has proposed a list of venues that can be retrofitted to comply with the proposed protocols. We will also be moving to declare additional entertainment zones and venues,” she said.
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