Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Carnival in Jamaica postponed to October

Published:Friday | March 13, 2020 | 11:12 AM
Revellers on carnival road march day on Sunday, April 28, 2019 - File photo

Carnival in Jamaica has been postponed to October due to the threat of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The road parade originally scheduled for Sunday, April 19 has been moved to Sunday, October 25.

This was announced by Kamal Bankay, Chairman of the Carnival in Jamaica stakeholders committee.

Bankay indicated that costumes and other items linked to carnival bands will still be valid.

The government has strongly recommended against public gatherings.

READ: Staging of carnival risky – Tufton

It was disclosed that discussions were held with hotels and airlines to waive change fees for rebooking to October and therefore revellers will not incur any additional costs.

Noting that carnival activities generate billions annually, by postponing the season and not cancelling it, organisers argued that they are able to still fulfil their commitment to revellers while keeping the industry from crumbling under the weight of significant economic pressures.

FULL STATEMENT

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and internal consultations with our stakeholders and the Ministries of Health & Wealth, Tourism, and Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports, we have decided to postpone the staging of our Carnival in Jamaica 2020 Road Marches to October 2020.

The decision to postpone an event that is five weeks away is an imperative one and came after much consultation and deliberation. 

This postponement to October 2020 gives us seven (7) clear months from the initial detection of the virus in Jamaica to provide a level of chronological distancing that shows that we are committed to protecting the citizens of Jamaica and tourists from unnecessary exposure to the pandemic COVID-19. 

With that being said, we also equally value all the employees that make an honest living from the Carnival industry here in Jamaica: our staff, event management agencies, production & logistics companies, costume designers, hoteliers, transport providers, decorators, security personnel, caterers, bar services, DJs, food growers and beverage companies.

A decision to cancel Carnival for 2020 would see us forgo all the potential economic injections across all sectors that our Carnival brings to our country annually, especially in a year when we will need it most, i.e. in anticipation of the economic fallout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Carnival season has an annual economic impact in the billions. By postponing the season and not cancelling, we can still fulfil our commitment to the revellers to provide the best Carnival experience in the Caribbean and keep our industry from crumbling under the weight of the significant economic pressures we will face as a nation - a most delicate balancing act.

We hereby announce the following: 

* Carnival in Jamaica's Road Parade (Bacchanal Jamaica, Xaymaca International, and Xodus Carnival) will be on Sunday, October 25, 2020.

* Ocho Rios Carnival Road Parade will be on National Heroes’ Day, Monday, October 19, 2020.

* Downtown Kingston Carnival Parade will be on National Heroes’ Day, Monday, October 19, 2020.

* All costumes and t-shirts purchased for any of the events listed above for our postponed April stagings will be valid for our October 2020 staging. 

* We have also had robust discussions with our hotels and airline partners to waive change fees for rebooking to October, so our revellers will not incur any additional costs and still get to enjoy Carnival in Jamaica at a time when it should be safe to do so.

We thank you for all of the support for Carnival in Jamaica over the years and look forward to an amazing experience with you in October 2020!

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