Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday, June 22, announced a structured re-opening of the entertainment industry bringing much relief to the sector which has been severely impacted by the measures imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The Government has contemplated two categories of events: large and small.
Effective July 1, 2021, small events may resume with a maximum of 100 attendees including organizers and support personnel. These small events are categorized as either indoor or outdoor; each having gathering limits.
Outdoor concerts, parties, round robins, festivals, community events, corporate mixers, handing-over or groundbreaking ceremonies, and other events of this nature.
The Prime Minister says for indoor events, a cap on the number of persons who can attend a small event is determined as 60 percent of useable square footage.
For public sector events, such as handing over, or groundbreaking, a maximum of 50 persons must be maintained.
On the other hand, large events will go through an approval process. Organizers of the large events must first send an application to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport. The Ministry will review the application to see that it meets the requirements and once satisfied, it will forward the application to the ODPEM which will then consult with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Municipal Corporation, and any other relevant authorities. Upon the satisfaction of all the parties, the application for an event to be held at a specified place and time will be approved.
Large events are categorized as stage shows, church conventions, conferences or crusades and related activities.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will be providing support to the sector by allowing certain government-owned venues to be used rent-free. He says the fee will be waived and the organizers would be required to cover only operating costs such as utilities and security costs.
Further to his comments, the Prime Minister also says the Government will be negotiating with the local authorities and the private sector with the aim of providing subsidies for the use of other venues across the island.
The Prime Minister said, “We want the industry to achieve its full potential, but this potential is inhibited because a large sector of the industry is informal and unregulated. Entertainment is business and we must begin to treat it as a legitimate economic enterprise. We also need to look at how we can use legislation and policy to incentivize the reset of the entertainment industry.”
Meanwhile the Prime Minister says, “to signal the reopening of the entertainment sector as well as to demonstrate how a large event could be hosted with the proper protocols, the Government will be organizing a concert on July 1, 2021 at the Port Royal Cruise Terminal.”
The Prime Minister notes that this will be a fitting way to recognize and celebrate International Reggae Day. Further details are expected to be announced by Minister Grange.