Jamaica closes dozens of rivers, beaches as illegal parties pose COVID-19 threat

As unauthorised gatherings and parties at one Jamaican attraction gain popularity, the Government has ordered the immediate closure of dozens of rivers and beaches amid COVID-19 concerns.

Illegal parties at the Old Spanish River Bridge in St Mary prompted the Government’s move to close dozens of rivers and beaches across Jamaica.

The popular Spanish River Bridge destination in St Mary was ordered closed with immediate effect by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, yesterday (August 11), as social media videos showed what seemed to be hundreds of people partying at the landmark.

McKenzie, speaking in Parliament yesterday, said he was disappointed that despite discussions with stakeholders in the entertainment sector, breaches of the COVID-19 protocols have been the norm. “In many instances, events are being held without any permit even being sought from the local authorities. In other cases where permits were issued, the terms and conditions were blatantly disregarded by the promoters,” he said.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie

Small outdoor events with the necessary permits will be permitted on Thursdays to Sundays between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Other water attractions ordered closed include the Cane River Falls, Hope River, Alligator Pond River, Roaring River, Reggae Falls, Yallahs River, Frenchman’s Cove, Bluefields Beach, Hellshire Beach and Bob Marley Beach.