Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says proposed new curfew hours for the December to January period will be 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily, except for the public holidays.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on November 24, Mr. Holness said that on Christmas Day (December 25) and Boxing Day (December 26), the curfew will commence at 7:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 a.m.
“Movement will, therefore, only be permitted between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Day and Boxing Day,” the Prime Minister noted.
He said on December 27 the curfew will revert to 10:00 p.m. nightly, and this will also include December 31, which is New Year’s Eve.
On New Year’s Day, January 1, 2021, the curfew will commence at 7:00 p.m. and end 5:00 a.m. the following morning.
The Prime Minister noted that from January 2 to 15, the curfew hours will return to 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily.
Mr. Holness said the reduction in curfew hours is expected to have a significant positive impact on commerce, particularly in the quick service industry.
“It will increase economic activity and it will bring back many jobs. I believe we have struck the right balance to increase, but at the same time not encourage risky activities that would increase the spread,” he said.
He appealed to shoppers and sellers, throughout the period but particularly on Christmas Eve, to adhere to the safety protocols implemented to limit the spread of the virus.
“Wear your masks, pay attention to your hand hygiene and your facial hygiene. Hand hygiene – sanitise your hands regularly; facial hygiene – wear your masks, covering your nose and mouth, or a face shield if you can,” he emphasised.
The Prime Minister said if the numbers rise beyond reasonable expectations, the hours will be re-evaluated by the Government.
“If December goes badly in terms of numbers, we cannot reopen schools, and that’s the trade-off, so each time we give a little, we end up disadvantaging our students by not being able to reopen our schools, and that is a trade-off that we all must bear in mind,” he said.
“The other disadvantage, of course, is that if we don’t maintain the protocols and we see where this becomes a threat, then we will have to put in place even tighter curfew measures and tighter infection-control measures, which would have even greater negative economic impact,” Mr. Holness added.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister made a special appeal to members of the diaspora who will be visiting the island to act responsibly and adhere to the guidelines implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“I am not here saying don’t come, I’m saying if you don’t need to come for Christmas, then reconsider it. If you decide to come, then go to the resilient corridors and help our tourism industry, but don’t leave the resilient corridors to come and look for grandma and auntie. Maintain the protocols and if you come, there is a strict quarantine protocol in place under the Disaster Risk Management Act for 14 days,” the Prime Minister said.