As of Monday, August 24, the staging of small outdoor events will only be allowed on four specific days as the Government tightens restrictions in light of the continued breaches of established coronavirus (COVID-19) health protocols.
Small outdoor events (such as concerts, parties, tailgate parties, round robins, launches and festivals) with the necessary permits will only be allowed on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
This new stipulation is among several revised measures the Government has instituted to better monitor activities within the entertainment sector and clamp down on infractions, including the staging of events without the requisite permits.
In a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (August 11), Minister of Local Government and Community Development,
Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said that applications for permits must be made to the municipal corporations at least 15 days before the date of the event.
“A committee will be established at each municipal corporation to receive and review all applications. This committee will consist of officials from the municipal corporations, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and the Ministry of Health [and Wellness],” he informed.
He advised that a copy of the permit must be prominently displayed at the entrance of the venue at least eight hours before the event is scheduled to begin.
“One of the problems we are having…. is that many events are taking place without the requisite permits and persons are running the risk by turning up at these events, enjoying themselves, not knowing that they are in breach because there is no permit to host these events,” he said.
Mr. McKenzie noted that all promotions for events must include COVID-19 protocols referring specifically to the wearing of masks, sanitisation and physical distancing.
Promoters and patrons must observe government orders regarding closure before curfew times, sanitisation protocols, physical distancing of at least six feet between individuals, mandatory wearing of masks and temperature checks, especially on entry.
The Minister said that coming out of discussions with entertainment sector stakeholders it was agreed that the number of persons permitted to attend an event will be reduced from 280 to 230, with 200 comprising patrons and 30 being performers or event staff.
It was also agreed that there should be audible public announcements every 15 minutes during the event, reminding patrons to wear masks when not drinking or eating, and to observe physical distancing protocols.
In addition, there will be more stringent monitoring of the management of these events. Promoters or hosts are required to give full access to officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Ministry of Health and Wellness, the municipal corporations and the JCF, who will display proper identification.
“Any person, venue and/or sound system operator found to be in breach of any of the protocols… must be banned for six months from obtaining any permit to carry out any form of entertainment [events],” Minister McKenzie warned.
Any promoter, venue, sound system owner or operator who fails to comply with these protocols is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $1 million and/or 12 months’ imprisonment under the Disaster Risk Management Act.