No Grand Market for MoBay, says mayor
The annual Montego Bay Christmas Grand Market, one of the city’s stellar attractions at Christmas, will not be staged this year as the St James Municipal Corporation tries to blunt the spread of the coronavirus in the western parish.
“The vendors have been asking about the Grand Market, but I am not going to accommodate that, because that is going to have people gathering all over the place ... ,” Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams said during a Ministry of Health and Wellness COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.
“They (the vendors) are concerned because we are going towards the festive season, but, frankly, as the mayor, I have a problem with the anticipated crowd we will have ... . I am trying desperately to get the vendors off the main street, because that is where most of them congregate,” added Williams.
Grand Market is customarily held in all major towns across the island on Christmas Eve, with shoppers turning out in large numbers in the late evening. The colourful and energetic affair is characterised by heavy spending, as it provides the opportunity for shoppers to make last-minute Christmas purchases or secure unique items that had not been available all year round.
In addition to the shelving of the Grand Market, Williams is also calling on residents of St James to be responsible and decline invitations for Christmas parties.
“You can party, yes, but you will probably run the risk of having your last Christmas. Whereas, if you forego the partying, you will be able to see several other Christmases,” said Williams. “So I personally want to appeal to the citizens in and around Montego Bay, to make sure that they observe the safety protocols and ‘mask up before you talk up’.”
‘Mask Up Before You Talk Up’ is the slogan for a Ministry of Health and Wellness public education campaign to encourage mask-wearing as a protective measure to mitigate the spread of the virus.