The entertainment sector might be back in full effect in the coming months as Prime Minister Andrew Holness has indicated his desire to completely disband current COVID-19 protocols.
Parties and events that have been staged over the past few months have done so contrary to the current Disaster Risk and Management Act (DRMA) that classified events as such nature illegal. However, due to declining COVID cases and decreased hospitalization rates, the Prime Minister has continued to revise these restrictions, and certain events have been given the green light to return.
In the recent revision of the protocols, which took in effect on February 25, it was announced that 100 persons would be allowed to attend events hosted by public-sector entities. It was also stated that the government is set to inform the nation on the specific plans catered towards reopening the entertainment sector soon.
The Prime Minister indicated during a press briefing last week that Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, is tasked with preparing a plan that will be presented to the nation on how the government will approach the reopening of the sector without risking the possibility of another spike in infections.
“Within the present protocol, the attendance at large events still possess a risk to public health in terms of spreading of the virus. The position [of the government], based upon public health science and advice, is that it is best to have only vaccinated persons gather en masse,” Prime Minister Holness declared.
The industry has suffered immensely since the arrival of the coronavirus on the island. An official ban on parties, gathering limits, and nightly curfews since last year March, except for two brief periods of opening, has ensured that the sector endured serious economic loss and stagnant development.
With this news, the entertainment fraternity can begin to prepare for the mass reopening. Many will draw back the Prime Minister’s promise early last year and further reiterate in December 2021, where he assured that the industry would receive a stimulus package once the COVID-19 restrictions are removed.
PM Andrew Holness told the JLP’s 78th annual conference last year that the government is contemplating how they can support the sector that is “responsible for Brand Jamaica and keeping the flag flying all around the world with intangible benefits.”
The reopening of the industry will mean more than just putting money back into entertainers’ pockets. The neighboring stores, the promoters, the vendors, the pan-chicken man, and so many more will benefit, creating more jobs and improving lives all around.