The Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has ordered the closure of all businesses that operate at Devon House, St. Andrew, effective Monday (July 6).
The announcement was made at a press briefing held at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road offices on Sunday (July 5) and follows the circulation of a video on social media of a party held on the premises over the weekend.
“Devon House, which is a very important entity in the country, has been operating outside of the protocols that have been outlined by the Government in regards to its operation.
“The Reggae Mill, based on information that we have gathered, has been operating for almost five weeks, every weekend, with numerous parties, with hundreds of persons not observing social distancing. A video has gone viral over this weekend showing Reggae Mill at Devon House operating long after the curfew hours had passed. It is clear that there is little appreciation of the rules that have been laid out by the Government,” the Minister said.
He noted that the facility will remain closed “until we are satisfied that Devon House will comply with the protocols.”
Minister McKenzie said that the reopening of cinemas, theatres and playhouses and allowing limited dining in restaurants, should not be used as an opportunity to stage parties.
“It is clear that persons are misusing the order that was issued especially for the opening of restaurants. I want to make it clear that wherever we find that a restaurant is operating as a restaurant and night club, where party and music is being played, then we will close those facilities with immediate effect,” he warned.
He noted that there are locations on Belmont Road, Old Hope Road and in Barbican that are operating outside of the guidelines that have been established and the Commissioner of Police has been provided with a list of all those entities that are in violation.
“Once you are closed the only way you can reopen is you will have to convince the authority that you will comply with the protocols that have been laid out,” Minister McKenzie pointed out.
He informed that the non-compliant entities were brought to the attention of Government by concerned citizens and urged Jamaicans to consider each other’s safety in order to avoid a spike in cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).