Sun | Sep 20, 2020

McKenzie calls meeting with entertainment sector amid COVID protocol breaches

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie - File photo

Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie has called an emergency meeting of stakeholders in the entertainment sector for Wednesday, August 5, at the ministry to discuss breaches of the COVID-19 protocols governing events [what types] and other gatherings.

McKenzie says surveys show that over 700 events have been staged without permits.

Additionally, in other instances where approvals for events were given, the agreed conditions were blatantly breached.

The staging of small outdoor events resumed on July 21.

McKenzie said the police are being stretched in responding to the entertainment breaches and that this is unfair to policemen and women, who are simultaneously dealing with other issues.

“I am also very concerned about the continued misuse of our beaches and rivers. The surveys have revealed that they are being overcrowded, in clear breach of the social-distancing protocols. Little Dunn’s River, Spanish River and Little Ochi are just a few of the venues at which the overcrowding is occurring. Additionally, parties and other events are being held at various beaches and rivers in clear violation of the stipulations that govern their reopening. Parties and tournaments are banned at beaches and rivers,” said McKenzie in a statement today.

“The Government is very concerned about the public health implications and effects of the unconscionable behaviour that is being seen islandwide. I wish to make it clear that this administration will not allow the gains made in the management of COVID-19 to be destroyed by people who have absolutely no regard for anyone’s interest but theirs.

“Accordingly, the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting will involve a review of this completely unacceptable situation and a decision about the way forward. The Government has been steadily working to restore economic and social life, but not at any price. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the relaxations granted up to this point will remain. Actions have consequences, and I want to make it clear that we are determined to use the policy and legal tools available to ensure behaviour change in this time of public health emergency,” he continued.

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