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JAMAICA | Curfew modified, bars and churches to re-open

Featured Prime Minister Andrew Holness, addresses a virtual press briefing on Monday (May 4) at the Office of the Prime Minister. ​ Prime Minister Andrew Holness, addresses a virtual press briefing on Monday (May 4) at the Office of the Prime Minister. ​
KINGSTON, Jamaica Tues. May 12, 2020 – The government has announced adjustments to the island wide curfew, designed to restrict movement as part of measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the island.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, told a video press conference at Jamaica House, yesterday, that as of Wednesday, May 13, the curfew will begin at 8:00 pm and end 5:00 am the following day. This will continue until the morning of Sunday, May 24.

This will however be modified for the Labour Day period, when there will be a 3:00 pm start time on Sunday, May 24 and ending at 8:00 am on Monday, May 25. This will continue with the next cycle commencing at 3:00 pm the same day and ending Tuesday, May 26 at 5:00 am.

From May 26 until May 31, the prime minister said the new curfew hours will begin at 9:00 pm and end 5:00 am the next day.

Public transport operators are allowed an hour before the curfew starts and after it ends to facilitate the pick-up and drop-off of passengers.

Meanwhile, the government will allow community bars to reopen but within established guidelines.

As part of the new regime bars will be allowed to open 11:00 am on May 19 and will remain open for two weeks, during which their operations will be assessed.

Operating hours will be from 11:00 am each day to when the curfew begins under the following guidelines:

• Social and physical distancing must be maintained.

• No more than five people including the bartender shall be in the bar at any one time.

• All seating arrangements outside the bars must be maintained, that is physical distancing of six feet between each single seating unit.

• There shall be no stools, no benches, chairs nor table for people within the bar.

• There shall be no group games, dominoes etc. inside the bar or on the premises occupying the bar.

• Poker boxes and other such gambling and gaming instruments must be placed at least six feet apart to ensure social and physical distancing.

• There shall be no events that promote social gathering such as parties.

• Bar doors and windows shall remain open during the operating hours

In addition, individuals operating and attending the bar must wear face masks and protective clothing.

Each bar must establish a sanitisation station for the proper washing of hands and maintain sanitation protocols that will be set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

All bars are also being asked to display proper signage to advise people of the protocols under which they will operate. 

The Jamaica Constabulary Force, the municipal police, the Social Development Commission and the Ministry of Health will inspect and ensure that all these protocols are observed.

These measures will last 14 days and operators are asked to comply.

In the meantime, churches will be allowed to open for a two-week trial period, commencing Saturday, May 16.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said services may resume within a context agreed with the faith-based community.

Included in the agreement are that temperature checks are done on entry and social distancing rules will continue to apply throughout other church spaces and within the sanctuary space, that is, people are to maintain a minimum six feet distance apart from each other.

Holness noted that the gathering rules (no more than 10 gathered six feet apart from each other) apply for all other spaces outside of the sanctuary or worship spaces. 

The prime minister said everyone must wear a mask in church and there must be a programme of sanitisation in place, specifically hand sanitisation areas at designated places, particularly at the entrance.

He noted that some churches may have to conduct more than one service per day and may have to shorten the period of worship.

Holness said churches will have to ensure there is no overlapping of services and there should be enough transition period to allow for cleaning and sanitisation practices.

“We have asked for this trial period, that churches do not assemble a choir,” Holness added. He said he has also asked the churches to postpone certain rituals and practices that go against the social distancing requirements.

The prime minister is to review the order when the trial period ends.

  • Countries: Jamaica
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