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  • Giving an outline of the protocols, Mr. McKenzie said that bars must maintain social and physical distancing; should accommodate no more than five persons, including the bartender, and that all seating arrangements outside the bars must also maintain physical distancing of six feet between each single seating unit.
  • Mr. McKenzie stated that all bars are to display proper signage advising people of the new protocols under which they will operate, and that the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the municipal police, the Social Development Commission, and the Ministry of Health will inspect and ensure that all these protocols are observed.
  • In the meantime, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, while noting that bar operation is a significant part of the country's economy, warned the operators to ensure that no one contracts the virus in their facilities, as all bars would be ordered closed immediately if any transmission of the virus is linked to any of the establishments.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has announced that community bars will be allowed to reopen conditionally, starting on May 19, for a two-week probationary period.

Bars islandwide were ordered closed from March 28, as part of the Government’s measures to prevent and reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Minister, who was speaking at a virtual press conference on Monday (May 11), at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre, in Kingston, said bars would be allowed to reopen from 11:00 a.m. daily.

“We are asking these bars to take into consideration the protocols as to how they will commence operation,” he said, adding that assessments will be carried out during the trial phase.

Giving an outline of the protocols, Mr. McKenzie said that bars must maintain social and physical distancing; should accommodate no more than five persons, including the bartender, and that all seating arrangements outside the bars must also maintain physical distancing of six feet between each single seating unit.

“There shall be no stools, no benches, chairs or tables for people within the bar. There shall be no group games, dominoes… inside the bar or on the premises occupying the bar. Poker boxes and other such gambling and gaming instruments must be placed at least six feet apart to ensure social and physical distancing,” he pointed out, while emphasising that the bars should not host any event that promotes social gathering.

Additionally, the Minister said that bar doors and windows must remain open during the operating hours and that all the patrons, including the bartender, must wear a mask and protective clothing.

“Each bar must establish a sanitisation station for the proper washing of hands and maintain sanitation protocols that will be set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie stated that all bars are to display proper signage advising people of the new protocols under which they will operate, and that the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the municipal police, the Social Development Commission, and the Ministry of Health will inspect and ensure that all these protocols are observed.

“We are also encouraging operators of these community bars to ensure that they are registered, and we will be making arrangements at all municipal offices across the country for persons to go and get registered,” he added.

The Minister appealed to all bar operators to ensure that they comply with the new measures, as failure to adhere may result in the two-week probationary period not being extended.

In the meantime, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, while noting that bar operation is a significant part of the country’s economy, warned the operators to ensure that no one contracts the virus in their facilities, as all bars would be ordered closed immediately if any transmission of the virus is linked to any of the establishments.

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