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Effective Tuesday (July 21), sports bars will be allowed to reopen their doors for business.

This was announced by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who said these venues will be conditionally opened until July 31.

The Government had ordered the closure of these establishments, as part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 14), Mr. McKenzie informed that in order to qualify for reopening, these facilities must first obtain the requisite approval, which is a valid amusement licence from the Local Authorities, as well as certification of safety from the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

“It is clear, based on the assessment that was done, that many of these establishments before COVID were operating outside of observing the requirements for licensing and the full response to the safety concerns. As a part of the Order, these locations will not be allowed to operate unless they are in compliance,” Mr. McKenzie advised.

He further informed that in keeping with the COVID-19 protocols, no entertainment events are allowed at sports bars, and no more than 60 per cent of the venue must be occupied at any given time.

In addition, he advised that there must be at least six feet of space between dining tables, and a maximum four persons are allowed to sit at a table. Also, tables must not be joined to facilitate large groups.

“Poker boxes and the necessary gaming [instruments] must be placed at least six feet apart. Where it is necessary… limited air-conditioning may be used and where possible, doors and windows of these facilities must remain open,” Mr. McKenzie emphasised.

He also advised that signs displaying COVID-19 guidelines must be prominently displayed throughout the venue, and the necessary protocols involving sanitisation must be in place, including the constant cleaning of the restrooms.

Mr. McKenzie pointed out that the Order does not speak to the opening of night clubs, which must remain closed.

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