Disappointed but thankful - Entertainment players glad sector still open
The change in the time for the nightly curfews has left event promoters and entertainment players disappointed but thankful that the sector that was reopened last month has not been shut down again.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday announced that the start of the nightly curfews has been brought forward by three hours - from 11 p.m. to 8 p.m. - as the country begins to see a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
"We got used to the 11 p.m. curfew and then to just get a three hours cutback, its a major blow to the industry, especially with the holiday weekend coming up. There were a lot of events that people had planned with the 11 p.m. in mind, and this a guh rough pan dem," said Dave Scott, popularly called 'Tallman', CEO of DI Unit sound system.
Holness, in rolling back the 11 p.m curfew to 8 p.m. Mondays from Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays, said the move is intended to reduce movement as Jamaica is in the early stages of a third wave of the novel coronavirus.
Tallman said he was not caught off-guard by the decision.
"I saw this coming because I figured with the numbers rising, the PM would tighten the measures once more, especially with schools to re-open in September. I know he wants to get the numbers back down so schools can resume. It is what it is," he said.
Nearly two in every 10 persons who did COVID-19 tests on Sunday returned a positive result, data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness indicate. And with all the indicators heading in the wrong direction, Holness said the Government had to act quickly to prevent a spike. He also said that tighter containment measures would be announced in two weeks.
Tallman, while disappointed with the turn that things have taken, said he is glad Holness did not announce a shutdown of the entertainment sector once more. Instead, Holness reasoned that some event hosts "would very well have to make decisions about whether or not they will hold those events" given the adjustment in curfew times.
Readjust their events schedule
Promoters of Dream Weekend, which is set to take place from August 5-9, could announce revised times for their events as early as today.
Popular selector and party promoter Boom Boom said that party promoters will now have to readjust their events schedule. He said that although the new 8 p.m. curfew time is a tight squeeze, promoters and patrons alike will have to make do.
"Mi can't really feel good bout the 8 p.m. time, but mi nuh surprised. Mi did expect it. All we affi do now a try plan the day events and di people dem affi just come out early. Weh we ago do? We can't do nothing, we affi work wid it and be happy say him nuh completely shut it down," he said.
"We just need fi change up the operation and the lovers of dancehall just do the right thing. Memba school fi open in a few weeks to innu, and if a dis we affi do fi school open September, we affi look out fi di schoolers dem same way. Mi have kids weh go school and we know dem wah go back to face-to-face classes," Boom Boom added.
Businessman and artiste manager Romeich Major said that while the 8 p.m. curfew is a big blow to the sector, but it is still better than a lockdown.
"The average man works 9-5. By time him leave work, go home and get ready to go a one party, a 7 p.m., it nuh make no sense. The only day we see might make sense is a Saturday, but on the same hand, it's still better than not keeping the event at all," he said.
Major has urged Jamaicans to follow the health protocols, such as mask-wearing and hygiene and physical distancing in order to help fight the novel coronavirus. He is also convinced that vaccination will help bring the pandemic to an end.
"We need fi get enough vaccine inna di place. If Jamaica wah be a better place we need fi wake up and rise up and take the vaccine, and make things better fi everybody. Dat a di only way we fix things right now. That's what America use to fix it, and so dats wah we affi use and fix things too," Major said.