The Jamaica government is proposing a list of approved venues that will be made available at subsidized rates as a stimulus for the sector that has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Olivia Grange told the Senate on Tuesday that in anticipation of the full reopening of the entertainment sector, those venues will be retrofitted to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.
“These venues include facilities at Independence Park, Trelawny Stadium, the Port Royal Entertainment Zone, including Fort Rocky and Fort Charles, as well as Seville Heritage Park. We’re still finalising the arrangements while continuing consultations with stakeholders for the reopening of the wider entertainment sector and will make the appropriate announcements soon,” she told legislators.
She said that there are also plans to declare additional entertainment zones and venues and that in preparation for the reopening of the wider entertainment sector, the Andrew Holness government had been engaged in consultations with members of the sector on the prevailing health conditions in the country as well as the specific protocols that would have to be employed for particular activities.
“The majority of the members of the sector understand; we are in touch. I stay in touch with the grassroots; I stay in touch with practitioners in the business. We will continue to stay focused and we will reopen, but we are going to ensure we reopen at a time when it’s safe to do so,” she said.
Grange said while months were spent discussing and refining proposals for the safe reopening of the wider entertainment sector, the government has also “been busy building the capacity of members of the sector to enable them to build back stronger” from the pandemic.
“During Reggae Month, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport hosted four Business of Entertainment symposia as part of our capacity-building initiatives. Additionally, through the Creative Production and Training Centre, we have provided scholarships to enable six audio engineers to upskill and receive certification,” she added.
Grange said that Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness will make an announcement on the reopening of the entertainment sector in the House on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, as he announced new measures aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic, Prime Minister Holness said that his government is cognisant of the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the entertainment industry and the large number of persons who depend on the staging of events for their livelihood.
“The discussions have been constructive and encouraging and the industry has expressed a commitment to implementing strict protocols to allow it to operate in a safe and sustainable way,” Holness told legislators last week.
He said that a previous attempt to allow entertainment to open up in the summer of 2020, was one of the factors that resulted in the first COVID-19 spike in Jamaica.