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Holness to announce date for reopening of entertainment sector 

embers of the local entertainment sector should know by June 22 when the industry will be reopened.

Minister with responsibility for entertainment, Olivia Grange, said on that date, Prime Minister Andrew Holness will make the announcement. Grange was speaking Tuesday in the House of Representatives as she made her contribution to the 2021/2022 Sectoral Debate.

“Our major challenge this year continues to be the re-opening of the wider entertainment sector. We know not the hour…Yet signs all foretell that the moment is nearing. Prime Minister Andrew Holness will make an announcement on the reopening of entertainment in this House on Tuesday, June 22, 2021,” Grange said.

The minister noted that in preparation for the reopening of the wider entertainment sector, “we have engaged in consultations with members of the sector as well as colleagues in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management on the prevailing health conditions in the country as well as the specific protocols that would have to be employed for particular activities”.

Minister with responsibility for entertainment Olivia Grange.

Grange said that as with the resumption of sports, the resumption of entertainment will have to be a gradual process and we will also have to consider capacity limits as well as authorised venues where the necessary safety protocols can be implemented.

“In this regard, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has proposed a list of venues that can be retrofitted to comply with the proposed protocols. We will also be moving to declare additional entertainment zones and venues,” she said.

The entertainment minister also said that as with the sport sector, her ministry was offering to subsidise the use of these facilities as a stimulus for the entertainment sector. These venues include facilities at Independence Park and Trelawny Stadium, the Port Royal Entertainment Zone including Fort Rocky and Fort Charles, as well as Seville Heritage Park.

Like much of the country, the entertainment industry was shuttered in March last year shortly after Jamaica recorded its first case of COVID-19. It was briefly reopened in the summer of 2020 but was quickly shuttered again as party promoters, entertainers and patrons regularly breached the health protocols that are in place under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) to help curb the spread of the coronavirus on the island.

But, with thousands of people out of work, the Government has been coming under increasing pressure to reopen the industry. There are also growing cries of bias and double standards with claims that tourists are allowed to party in Jamaica while locals are forced to abide by the provisions of the DRMA.

These accusations grew last month when scores of non-mask wearing tourists were captured on video partying at the popular Rick’s Café in Negril, Westmoreland in clear breach of the DRMA. Rick’s Café had its licence suspended for more than a week and the authorities have reiterated that no parties or other entertainment activities are sanctioned at this time.

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