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Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is encouraging Jamaicans to consider virtual gatherings for family get-togethers during the upcoming Christmas season.

He said that virtual events are the safest approach during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, especially for older relatives and those with comorbidities.

“There are alternatives to the traditional approach to celebrating Christmas, and the concept of technology gatherings has gained a lot of traction. The Zoom Christmas party is what we are recommending. You may not be able to touch and feel as you’d like to, but guess what? It is a safer bet,” he said.

Dr. Tufton, who was addressing a digital press conference in Montego Bay on Thursday (November 26), said it is critical that persons continue to observe the established COVID-19 protocols over the festive season in order to prevent a spike in cases in January 2021.

“The truth is, if we do not take the necessary measures to address the threat that we are experiencing, the consequences could be dire. It could cost us lives, it could cost us livelihoods and in January… it could restrict the back-to-school, which we so need to have in the interest of our children,” he pointed out.

He is encouraging Jamaicans to observe the spirit of Christmas despite the pandemic, urging individuals to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate.

The protocols for the holiday season include restricting gatherings to 15 persons whether in a private or public space; maintaining the ban on parties and events; and adjustments to the nightly curfew hours.

For December, with exceptions for public holidays, the curfew will commence at 10:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 a.m.
On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the curfew will commence at 7:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 a.m. the following morning.

On December 27, the curfew will revert to 10:00 p.m., including December 31, 2020 (New Year’s Eve).

On New Year’s Day, January 1, 2021, the curfew will commence at 7:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 a.m. the following morning.

From January 2 to 15, the curfew will return to 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

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