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Usain Bolt Under Police Investigation, PM Andrew Holness Shutters Entertainment Industry Over COVID

Usain Bolt is currently under police investigation as the Jamaican government shutters the entertainment industry over rising COVID-19 cases.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Usain Bolt’s recent birthday party after the retired athlete, and ambassador tested positive for COVID-19. The breakfast bash, which featured a host of big names including Raheem Sterling, Chris Gayle, and Konshens, is being probed as a possible breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act, which mandates wearing masks and keeping six feet apart in public spaces.

Several clips seen on social media show more than twenty guests gathered in attendance who were neither, wearing masks or socially distancing. The star-studded soirée occurred just days after Prime Minister Andrew Holness cited “a need for consciousness…for conscious personal responsibility on the part of every citizen” amid an increase in coronavirus cases.

When news broke that Bolt was COVID positive, the P.M. was vigilant in following up with concerned citizens. “The police are investigating. They are looking into all aspects of the matter, so no one is going to be treated with any exemption or given any special treatment,” Holness said. “All Jamaicans have a duty, and, of course, those who have the public ear and have influence in public spheres, they have an even greater duty. These matters are all being thoroughly investigated and the police will give a report on these matters in near future.”

Meanwhile, the island’s entertainment sector has reverted to near dormancy as newly imposed curfews take effect amid the sharp COVID spike. Social distancing rules were relaxed on a trial basis on July 21, however, barely a month later, the industry has been dealt another crippling blow. “As it is turning out, as we are seeing, it is easier said than done to have events that are compliant with protocols, and in fact, when the contact tracing is done, you are seeing that many persons, even high-profile persons who are affected, you could trace back to entertainment events,” Holness said.

“It, therefore, said to us, from a public health perspective, that if we are going to balance lives and livelihood, you want to make sure that you are alive to enjoy the livelihood.” Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the government has cut the 11 PM curfew time to 7 PMpm in Kingston & St. Andrew, St Catherine and Clarendon until September 2. The Prime Minister also announced that no permits will be issued for entertainment events for the next two weeks. Those already issued will be canceled and fees refunded in full.

Popular event promoter Askel spoke with THE STAR where he expressed that promoters are now left counting their losses again as yet another curfew dampens their chances of recovery.