JIS News

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has announced the temporary resumption of small outdoor events, amusement parks and water attractions, starting Tuesday, July 21.

For outdoor events, the allowable functions include small concerts, parties, round robins, launches, religious celebrations (such as baptisms and tent meetings) and festivals.

The Minister, in the statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 14), said that the conditional reopening will be allowed for a two-week period up to July 31.

He said that the protocols came out of extensive consultations with the various players in the sector, with the last meeting held on July 9.

Minister McKenzie said that all the events to be held must comply with the Order, and that no staging will be allowed without the requisite amusement licence or permit granted by the respective municipal corporation.

Applications for permits must have the correct address, approximate size, and a recent picture of the proposed venue and layout of the event.

Mr. McKenzie said that no more than 280 people can gather for an event. This means a maximum 250 patrons and no more than 30 additional production personnel, including performers and staff.

“There must be signs, such as tape on the floors or other markings, to ensure that the people attending observe the necessary protocols.

The bar area is only to be used for purchasing drinks. No gathering is allowed,” he said, adding that in terms of round robins, obstruction of vehicular traffic and access to public thoroughfares will not be allowed.

He noted that the Noise Abatement Act, which applies to these events, will be enforced, and functions must come to an end by 10:00 p.m., which is one hour before the start of the nightly curfew.

Mr. McKenzie informed that all facilities that are to be used under this conditional reopening will be subject to inspections by personnel from the Ministries of Local Government and Community Development; Health and Wellness; Tourism; and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; the municipal corporations and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

“There will be a sensitisation and monitoring team comprising the Social Development Commission (SDC), Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health and Wellness as we take a joined-up government approach, which will see the employment of over 1,000 young people across the country to ensure the effectiveness of this exercise,” he said.

He noted that 350 youngsters will be drawn from the Local Government Ministry’s Youth Summer Employment Programme, and 800 recruited through the Ministries of Tourism and Health, noting that the period of training has commenced.

Turning to amusement parks and water attractions, Mr. McKenzie informed that these establishments will now be allowed to operate between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., starting July 21.

These facilities include gaming arcades for children and young adults, and are not to be confused with gaming lounges where various forms of gambling are permitted. No gambling is allowed in gaming arcades.

“These facilities must have the requisite approvals of the Local Authorities and the necessary safety requirements by the Jamaica Fire Brigade. We are insisting that the necessary protocols that have been outlined in terms of the wearing of masks and sanitisation must be maintained at all times,” Mr. McKenzie said.

Additionally the protocols dictate that railings, barriers, safety harnesses, life jackets and play equipment must be sanitised frequently; rides and play equipment must be sanitised after each user, or after users from different families or groups; and physical barriers and visual signs must be erected to ensure distancing between people from different families or groups, both in and out of the water.

Additionally, attractions must not provide items such as towels, goggles and snorkels. However, patrons are allowed to bring their own. These items must not be shared between people from different families or groups.

Also, attractions that provide rides must ensure that there is at least one seat space between members from different families or groups. Rides that do not allow for seat spacing or for riders to wear masks must remain closed.

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