Dancehall promoters remains in a bind for the holidays despite relaxed curfew hours.
With the recent announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that for the holiday season, the curfew hours will be extended, many Jamaicans were expecting the entertainment sector to also be open. However, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia “Babsy” Grange said this will not be the case. Speaking at The Jamaica Observer’s Splash, Grange noted there will be no reopening of the entertainment industry any time soon not will there be a New Year’s Eve concert downtown Kingston’s Waterfront this year.
This marks the second straight year that the annual concert has been canceled due to covid-19. Last year, the Urban Development Cooperation (UDC) made an official statement saying the concert is a gift to the nation celebrating the country’s continued growth. However, similar to last year, they have decided it would be best to cancel the event due to being unable to keep the event within regulations of the public safety rules.
The annual concert usually hosts over 300,000 people at the Waterfront to witness the spectacles of fireworks and a concert to ring in the new year but was canceled as a safety precaution.
The government has stated that to reduce covid infections, small events will only host a maximum of 100 persons. And larger events must seek permission from the Office of Desaster Preparedness and Management (ODPEM) to ensure safety rules will still be followed at these events.
Hence the entertainment industry has remained dormant since its official close in 2020.
The entertainment sector has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic in June 2020. Since then, stakeholders have accused the government of blaming the sector for the rise in covid infections while showing favoritism to the tourism industry. The tourism industry then blasted the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) and the Jamaica Association for Composers, Authors, and Publishers (JCAP) for the false accusations.
Since the pandemic, those who rely on the entertainment industry have lost an estimate of 50% of their income. A $50 million grant program was announced by Grange last year, with $40 million going to sector members. However, this was later canceled.