Prime Minister reopens bars and churches, relaxes curfew hours

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has embarked on a gradual return to normalcy in the country. Effective May 18, the Prime Minister will allow for the reopening of churches, under the condition that each person remains 40 square feet from each other.

This may mean that churches will have to host several services to accommodate its congregation. There should also be no choir, masks should be worn while in church, temperature checks should be done at the door, and each church must have a sanitisation station.

Bars will also be reopened starting May 19. Bars should be opened at 11 am, the Prime Minister however, has not yet indicated a closure time.

Each bar should accomodate no more than 15 people including the bartender at any given time. Face masks should also be worn while in the establishment, and a santisation station present. The Prime Minister also gave a strict warning that no parties should be held.

The reopening of bars and churches will last for a trial period of two weeks.

Holness informed that the police, the Social Development Commission, and the Ministry of Health will be monitoring bars and churches to ensure these guidelines are being followed.

Meanwhile, faced with criticisms that the current curfew hours of 6 am to 6 pm are too restrictive, Prime Minister Holness has revised them.

On Wednesday, May 13 to Sunday May 24, the curfew hours will be from 8 pm to 5 am daily. On Monday, May 25 to Tuesday, May 26 the curfew hours will be from to 3 pm to 5 am. And on Wednesday, May 27 to Sunday, May 31 the curfews hours will be from 9 pm to 5 am daily.

The Prime Minister said the country has achieved a flattening of the curve, hence the relaxed measures. But he said if the numbers begin to trend upwards again, he will have to implement tighter restrictions.

Jamaica currently has 505 coronavirus cases and nine coronavirus related deaths.