Dream Entertainment awaits green light for bubble eventSunday, July 11, 2021
Dream Entertainment, operators of Dream Weekend, are optimistic that within another week they will get the Government's approval to stage its flagship event in the summer.
The company had submitted its application to host the event almost immediately after the announcement was made regarding the phased reopening of the entertainment industry locally.
Managing director of Dream Entertainment, Scott Dunn, told Kalilah Reynolds on Taking Stock that the application has now moved from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
“The ministry is OK with what they've seen [in our proposal and we're] hoping that within the next week we can get an answer so that we can move ahead and have Dream Weekend on August 29th,” said Dunn.
Dunn said the last 15 months have been challenging for the company as they've had to absorb overhead costs by keeping on staff and maintaining offices and storerooms. He said they did that to remain ready for the sector's reopening.
The managing director said it would typically take a year to plan a Dream Weekend event in Jamaica; however, they are now looking to pull it off in under a month.
“We start planning right as one finishes but we would have some stuff in place already which is why our overheads have been high...so whenever an announcement like this came we would have been ready to get on the phone to put everything in line and we're being optimistic that we're gonna get a yes from the Government,” said Dunn.
$4.3 billion at stake
Dunn said the Government understands the value of the event which should help them with their final decision. Last year he said a study was commissioned which estimated that Dream Weekend contributed about J$4.3 billion to the economy.
“There's such a large ecosystem that relies on Dream Weekend and there are a lot of people who are going to be happy if Dream Weekend can happen,” Dunn reasoned.
Last year's event was cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19. This year, Dunn said, seven events have been proposed as opposed to the typical nine, citing curfew times as the reason for that change. He said most of the events will be during the day into early night with two slated to be breakfast parties.
As part of the proposal to stage the events, Dream has conceptualised the bubble event which will see patrons either being fully vaccinated or presenting a negative antigen COVID-19 test received up to 48 hours prior to the event.
Dunn said officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness are to be at the locations to verify patrons at its redemption centre in Negril.
However, he remains optimistic that there will be no spike in cases from the activities, especially with most patrons expected to come from areas with high vaccination rates.
5,000 patrons expected
According to Dunn, Dream Weekend usually attracts around 7000 patrons per event.
“The last tourist board study showed about 67 per cent of international patrons, so again that bodes well for us because those people are going to come in with a COVID negative test within days of the event or on the day. Some are also coming from cities that are 50 per cent vaccinated like New York, which is our biggest market followed by London, Florida, Canada and these are segments that have large segments of population vaccinated,” he reasoned.
Dunn said this year patrons will only be able to collect armbands and season tickets after they've been verified. He noted that the team has proposed to use its larger venues which have capacities of 10,000. However he expects that capacity to be reduced and hopes to get between 30 per cent-50 per cent approved which should ensure sufficient social distancing among patrons.
Additionally, the proposal speaks to the wearing of masks unless actively eating or drinking and the employment of COVID-19 monitors who will be responsible for ensuring the protocols are being followed, among other things.
“If people can abide by the protocols in restaurants and hotels, I think they can abide by them at the event, particularly if you run your events in a particular manner. So things that people get away with at other events even normally, they won't get away with at Dream,” said Dunn.
Dunn said anyone who appears to be symptomatic, or has a high fever at any event will be required to get a PRC test done and not permitted to return to any of the other events until the results have been received.
Dream Weekend, if approved, will follow the company's recent event in Florida. This month they also relaunched Dream Weekend New York, which it will be looking to stage for the first time also in August this year.
Dunn said the company also has hopes for carnival Jamaica to be staged in October.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login