Jamaica’s entertainment sector to reopen in July, gov’t organizing reggae day concert

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that Jamaica’s entertainment sector will be reopening come July 1.

Holness made the announcement while speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 22) where he outlined the protocols that should be observed for the reopening of the sector.  

To commemorate the reopening of the sector and provide an example as to how events should be staged going forward, Holness revealed that the government would be organizing a reggae day concert.

“Madam Speaker, to signal the reopening of the entertainment sector as well as to demonstrate how a large event could be hosted with proper protocols, the government will be organising a concert on July 1, 2021 at the Port Royal cruise terminal,” Holness told the house.

“This will be a fitting way to recognise and celebrate International Reggae day. Further details will be announced by Minister Grange,” Holness added.

According to Holness, going forward events would be categorised into small, less than 100 persons , and large events, with each category of event having its own operating protocols.

Holness shared that the new protocols mean that small events being held indoors must not exceed 60 per cent of the capacity of the venue, while public sector events will be limited to 50 people.

For large events, which are defined as having more than 100 people, Holness shared that organisers will be required to make an application to the Ministry of Entertainment and Culture and the Officeof Disaster Preparedness; with the PM adding that the government would allow some events to be held at its venues for free.

“Organisers of small events will be allowed to make application permits as they would normally through their local authorities, and we  we’ll work with them to ensure that the protocols are in place for a safe event. The municipal corporation have agreed to reduce the cost of applying for permits and licences by 50%,” Holness said.

“Madam Speaker, in order to provide support to the sector in restarting, we are prepared to offer certain government owned venues to the organisers of large events rent free. So this is our contribution, “Holness added.

As for patrons attending these events, Holness said that at this time while the government won’t be requiring proof of an individual’s vaccination status, though it would greatly reduce the risk, he noted that some promoter’s could make vaccination a requirement.

“Madam Speaker, while such protocols would definitely reduce the risk, the shortage of vaccines and the cost associated with testing could result in a significant burden on the industry at this time. Let me hasten to add, however, that if private event holders wish to include such requirements to market their events, they are free to do so,” said Holness.

“ Already we have persons saying I want to put on an event and it is only persons who are vaccinated: you can’t get into this event unless show your vaccination card, versus others saying already they want to put on an event and you have to test three days before, we are happy for that and we would want more persons to do it. But in terms of putting it in the orders we have not done so, “ added Holness.