The Hanover Municipal Corporation has joined the Westmoreland and St James authorities in cancelling the staging of the traditional Grand Market in the parish.
At Tuesday’s (December 15) sitting of the Corporation in Lucea, the councillors, on a bipartisan basis, voted to cancel the event this year due to the heightened risk for transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mayor of Lucea, Councillor Sheridan Samuels, had previously said he would allow for the staging of the popular Christmas Eve shopping event but with a strict 9 p.m. cut-off time.
However, after hearing the concerns of the police and other councillors that the activity could lead to a spike in COVID-19, the Mayor said he decided to “put [the matter] to a vote so that everyone could have an input”.
“It is my view that this decision will potentially save lives and also prevent the spread of the virus,” he noted.
He said that the cancellation of Grand Market was not just for Lucea but for towns such as Hopewell and Sandy Bay. “It is for the entire Hanover,” he stressed.
There has been a spike in cases of COVID-19 in western Jamaica. The parish of Hanover has recorded more than 250 COVID-19 cases to date and three deaths.
In addition, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced tighter curfew measures for Westmoreland beginning Wednesday (December 16).
The new curfew hours for the parish are 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily until December 31.