Jamaicans are in for a sweet treat of freedom come July 1st. In a presentation in parliament on June 22, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced a partial reopening of the island’s entertainment sector as well as an adjustment to the islandwide curfew.
Come July 1st, the curfew will run from 11 PM to 5 AM from Mondays to Saturdays and 6 PM to 5 AM on Sundays. After 15 months of a ban on parties, promoters will finally be allowed to host events, with a maximum of 100 people for small events. The organizers of large events, which include stage shows, crusades, festivals and the likes, will have to go through an additional layer of approval.
Organizers of the large events must first send an application to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport. The Ministry will review the application to see that it meets the requirements.
Once the Ministry is satisfied, it will forward the application to the ODPEM. ODPEM will consult Ministry of Health and Wellness, the municipal corporation & any other relevant authorities, and if they are satisfied, the application for the event to be held at a specified place and time will be approved.
Unlike some cities in the United States, the government said it will not mandate that patrons attending events be vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test. Organizers are however allowed to do so if they want to.
Municipal corporations will be reducing the events permit fee by 50 percent. Prime Minister Holness also announced that government-owned venues will be offered to the organizers of large events rent-free.
The list of venues so far includes:
Facilities under the management of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport including the National Stadium complex and the Trelawny Stadium, Fort Rocky and Fort Charles, Seville and the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Facilities under the management of the Port Authority of Jamaica including the Falmouth Pier and the Port Royal Pier.
Prime Minister Holness urged Jamaicans to be responsible with the new measures.
“In trying to preserve the entertainment sector let us not jeopardize the reopening of our schools in September. The stakes are high and this is a risk we are all taking together as a country. Success is up to every one of us. Let us therefore not view the new measure as a free for all. Let us commit to being responsible and diligent as we seek to preserve the livelihoods of so many people,” he said.
To test out the new protocols, the Government will be organizing a concert on July 1 at the Port Royal Cruise Terminal to recognize and celebrate International Reggae Day.