Government Announces Stronger COVID-19 Measures

Government announces stronger measures: The Government of Jamaica has implemented stronger measures aimed at reducing the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on the island.

The measures include three consecutive weekends of islandwide curfew to include the Easter Holiday period.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister the Most Honourable Andrew Holness on Sunday, March 21 during a virtual media conference.

The Prime Minister said Cabinet deliberated for almost eight hours on Saturday and agreed on the stronger measures to the fight against COVID-19. The measures take effect today, March 23.

“We have seen videos of individuals still going to parties, it is the ultimate expression of social selfishness to be pursuing these kinds of activities which aid in the spread of COVID-19. You may not end up in the hospital but if you look at the videos being circulated the people who are in the hospitals could be your grandmother, could be your Mother and indeed even in the age group that is common to attend parties,” said Prime Minister Holness.

The Prime Minister further stated that it is not the intention of the Government to deprive  persons in pursuit of their happiness however it cannot be at the expense of the economy and the health of the population.

Prime Minister Holness said the Government is seeking to slow and possibly stop the spread by controlling movement.

The new measures are as follows:

  • From Tuesday, March 23 to Friday, March 26 – The nightly curfew hours will remain at 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning ending at 5 a.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2021.
  • On Saturday, March 27, 2021 – The curfew will begin at 12 noon and continue through the rest of Saturday and the entire day on Sunday and end at 5 a.m. on Monday, March 29, 2021.
  • On Friday, March 26, 2021 – Workplaces will be required to close at 12 noon (except for essential services, medical establishments, supermarkets, wholesale stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and other food establishments which will remain open noting that the curfew will begin at 8 pm)
  • From Monday, March 29, 2021, to Wednesday, March 31, 2021 – The curfew will commence at 8 p.m. nightly to 5 a.m. the following morning ending at 5 a.m. on Thursday, April 1, 2021.
  • On Holy Thursday, April 1, 2021- Workplaces will be required to close at 12 noon (except for essential services, medical establishments, supermarkets, wholesale stores, pharmacies, restaurants and other food establishments which will remain open noting that curfew will begin at 8 p.m.). Thereafter it will continue through the entire day on Good Friday and end at 5 a.m on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
  • On Saturday, April 3, 2021 – The curfew will begin at 12 noon and continue through the rest of Saturday, the entire day on Easter Sunday, the entire day on Easter Monday and end at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
  • On Tuesday, April 6, 2021 – The curfew will commence at 8 p.m. nightly to 5 a.m. the following morning ending at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
  • On Saturday, April 10, 2021 – The curfew will begin at 12 noon and continue through the rest of Saturday and the entire day on Sunday and end at 5 a.m. on Monday, April 12, 2021.
  • On Friday, April 9, 2021- Workplaces will be required to close at 12 noon to facilitate persons to conduct their shopping to prepare for the tighter weekend curfew.
  • There should be no face-to-face instruction in all primary and secondary schools (public and independent) until April 13.
  • As of Wednesday, March 24, 2021 until April 13, 2021-  Burials will be allowed Mondays to Fridays only during the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m with maximum 15 persons.
  • As of April 6 – The cap on the number of persons permitted at a marriage ceremony will be reduced from 25 to 15.  This will be in place until April 13, 2021

Additional Measures were also outlined under the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) and will expire on April 13, 2021.

Prime Minister Holness says, “it is not the intention of the Government to deprive the people of some avenue of worship. We understand and respect the right to worship. However, congregating in large numbers in the physical building to worship would not be advisable at this time given the extensiveness of the spread of the virus.”

In the meantime, the Prime Minister provided an update on the Sub-Committee of Cabinet’s decision on the implementation of quick-service delivery during curfew hours. He announced that the E-Commerce National Delivery Solution (ENDS) will enable some businesses and restaurants to function after curfew hours until midnight.

“I want to emphasize that the system will be fully inclusive and enable the smallest vendors, like your favourite pan chicken vendors and fried fish vendors, to participate,” said Prime Minister Holness.

Prime Minister Holness describes ENDS as a “creative and facilitative” step by the Government in leveraging technology to enable businesses to continue during the pandemic.

Notwithstanding, the Government continues to encourage all Jamaicans to strictly observe all the protocols and measures to control the spread of COVID-19 to save lives and preserve livelihoods.