Rick’s Café loses COVID-19 permit after hosting Mocha Fest party

One of Jamaica’s world-famous bars located in Negril’s West End on Friday (May 28) had its COVID-19 compliance certificate withdrawn with immediate effect.

Rick’s Café lost its certification after the entity, in violation of local laws, hosted a party on Thursday.

The event was part of the Mocha Fest series and was held at the popular bar. Videos from the event which saw patrons enjoying themselves in a tight space went viral on social media platforms.

The videos were met with outrage by some, who accused the government of coming down heavily on citizens who violate COVID-19 protocols while pandering to tourism interest, who they say are given free rein to do as they like.

Among those critical of the situation are dancehall stars Tanya Stephens and Bounty Killer, who bemoaned the seeming double standard.

“Andrew Holness unuh charge the pastor lady and Beenie Man who is a true ambassador for the country and culture, we had a problem with that but let’s see what gonna happen to Rick’s Café now if is a triple standard thing a gwaan?” said Bounty Killer in an IG post.

Following the public backlash the operators of the bar have issued an apology with the promise to double down on compliance training for staff.