Friday 14 August, 2020

Sports bars, amusement parks to reopen; round robins to resume

The Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie has announced that sports bars, amusement parks, water attractions, round robins and festivals will be allowed to resume operations as of Tuesday, July 21 for an initial 10 days.

In the case of sports bars, McKenzie, who was making a ministerial statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said “These facilities must first take the requisite approval licence from the local authorities and the necessary certification of safety from the Jamaica Fire Brigade in order for these establishments to be reopened”.

According to McKenzie, it was clear that based on an assessment that was done, “Many of these establishments before COVID were operating outside of observing the requirement for licensing and the full response to the safety concerns”.

“As a part of the order, these locations will not be allowed to operate unless they are in compliance,” he stated.

While sports bars will reopen next week, McKenzie stressed that night clubs will remain closed.

The following protocols will govern the operation of sports bars:

- Patrons must wear masks at all times

- Establishments must have a valid amusement license from the local authorities, and certification of safety from the Jamaica Fire Brigade

- No entertainment events are allowed, and no more than 60 per cent  of the venue must be occupied at any time.

- There must be at least six feet of spacing between dining tables, and a maximum four persons are allowed to sit at each table. The tables must not be joined to facilitate large groups.

- Poker boxes and other gaming instruments must be placed at least six feet apart.

- There must be limited use of air conditioning and where possible, doors and windows must remain open.

- Signs must be prominently displayed throughout the venue.


With summer being a busy time for entertainment events, restrictions are also being eased to allow for the staging of round robins, religious celebrations, festivals, small outdoor concerts and parties.

However, these events will be subjected to strict protocols, including no more than 280 people in attendance.

Protocols for outdoor events:

-  All patrons must wear masks

- Social distancing and sanitisation rules must be observed

- No event can be held without a permit issued by municipal corporations. The application must have the correct address, approximate size, a recent dated picture of the proposed venue and proposed layout of the event.  

- All approved events must end by 10:00pm which is one hour before the start of the nightly curfew.

- No more than 280 people will be allowed to gather for an event. This number includes up to 250 patrons and no more than 30 additional production personnel including performers and staff.

- There must be visible signs such as tape on floors or other markings to ensure that patrons observe all protocols.

- The bar area is only to be used for purchasing drinks. No gathering is allowed.

- No obstruction of public thoroughfares, of vehicular traffic, or of access to private premises is allowed. The provisions of the Noise Abatement Act also apply to these events, and will be enforced.

- All facilities and events are subject to inspection by officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Municipal Corporations and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

- There will also be sensitisation and monitoring teams from the Social Development Commission, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The teams will monitor events including round-robins and other parties.

Protocols for Amusement Parks and Water Attractions

- Amusement parks and water attractions will be allowed to operate between 10 am and 6 pm.

- Only venues with a valid amusement licence will be permitted to reopen.

- Railings, barriers, safety harnesses, life jackets, and play equipment must be sanitised frequently. 

- Rides and play equipment must be sanitised after each user, or after users from different families or groups.

- Physical barriers and visual signs must be erected to ensure physical distancing between people from different families or groups, both in and out of the water. 

- Attractions must not provide items such as towels, goggles and snorkels, however, patrons are allowed to bring their own. These items must not be shared between people from different families or groups. 

- Attractions that provide rides must ensure that there is at least one seat space between members from different families or groups.

- Masks must be worn by all persons on all rides. Rides that do not allow for spacing between seats or for riders to wear masks must remain closed.

Amusement parks include gaming arcades for children and young adults and are separate from gaming lounges where gambling takes place. No gambling is permitted inside gaming arcades.

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