Cool Off: Jamaica’s beaches and rivers to remain open, for now

It’s summer and many people are looking for ways to beat the heat.

The popular Fort Clarence beach in Portmore.

Fortunately, Jamaica’s Government has given the go-ahead for beaches and rivers to remain open until the end of June.

The month-long ban ended June 7 with Prime Minister Andrew Holness laying out ground rules for their use, to ensure physical distancing was being observed and people were limiting their potential exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

At a digital press briefing yesterday, June 12, Holness said beaches and rivers would remain open until June 30, extending the initial two-week period previously given. However, the prime minister issued further instructions for people who were looking to cool off in these public spaces.

The Beach at Half Moon Hotel
Beaches are not allowed to provide seating for guests.

The Government has extended the reopening of beaches and rivers to June 30, while strengthening the protocols to be observed at these water attraction sites.

Under the new requirements, beaches must be marked to help people maintain adequate physical distancing requirements.

Public beaches may now open between 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. while rivers can be accessed from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

However, people are encouraged to stay within their family groups and  observe social distancing rules.

Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, St James

Further, no more than 10 people may gather in any area at any time. shall gather in any one area of the beach or river. The wearing of masks is also required, but not in the water.

Only swimming and jogging are allowed. Activities such as partying, football, volleyball and dominoes are not permitted.

What’s more, vendors are also not allowed to walk the beach with items for sale. Beach operators are required to make the necessary arrangements for persons who want to sell.

No seating is allowed to be provided but guests may take their personal chairs.

Water attractions, sports bars, places of amusement, and nightclubs will remain closed.