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Curfew hours have been tightened further in the Government of Jamaica’s latest response to the continued rapid increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and hospitalisations in the country. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness made the announcement in a virtual press conference on Monday (09 August).

Beginning Wednesday (August 11) until Tuesday (August 31), the new curfew hours will be 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Mondays to Fridays; 6:00pm to 5:00am on Saturdays; and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Sundays. Mr. Holness said that closing hours for establishments will generally be one hour before curfew begins.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the revised strategy of the government is to now “gradually ease in” the tighter measures.

“For various reasons, we have analysed how we have implemented measures in the past and … have heard the concerns, criticisms and suggestions of our stakeholders who have said that the implementation of tighter measures steeply sometimes causes congestion and panic,” he said.

Gradually adjusting the curfew hours has provided persons with enough notice to enable them to rearrange their business hours, stock purchase items, schedule appointments and make other adjustments in preparation for the changes.

The Prime Minister warned, however, that while the government has not yet implemented a “no movement day”, it is possible.”

“In fact, no movement days, if the numbers do not show signs of improving, will probably come two weeks from now. So we are gradually easing in tighter measures so that people can prepare and have enough time to adjust their scheduling and so forth,” he said.

Announcing tightening of other measures, Mr. Holness said that beaches which are not under management or control are to be closed. The beaches that remain open will operate under the existing protocols and subject to tighter operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm Mondays to Saturdays; and 6:00 am to 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.

In addition, rivers will be restricted to domestic use and river rafting only, in accordance with the established protocols. The operating hours will be the same as for beaches.

Mr. Holness further said that places of worship will be restricted to having no more than 50 persons in physical attendance including clergy and support personnel. No crusades, conferences or conventions will be permitted.

“The 50 persons limit is still subject to the physical distance rule. So if your church, in applying [the] one (person) to 40 square feet rule, can only accommodate 30 persons, then 30 is your limit. [But] If your church, in applying the physical distancing rule could accommodate 200 persons, 50 is your limit,” Mr. Holness explained.

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