Opposition local government spokeswoman Denise Daley joined calls from stakeholders including Foota Hype and Popcaan for the entertainment sector to reopen.
According to Daley, MP for St. Catherine Eastern, despite Jamaica’s low vaccination rate, now is the time to end restrictions on entertainment events.
As of Sunday, the Department of Health’s vaccination tracker showed that only 636,803 (23.5%) of Jamaica’s population out of 2.7 million had been fully vaccinated.
Daley’s comments came following a statement on Monday by Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie that he would make an announcement “soon” regarding the area, which after a month-long reopening last August, had been closed due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Speaking to reports from Radio Jamaica, Daley said creative means should be used to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and that as opposition spokesperson she would be more than willing to help the government to make recommendations.
Daley also spoke out on the controversial issue of giving preferential treatment to fully vaccinated people, a position she said she fully supports.
“If it’s an open area, there have to be certain rules that govern, like making sure you’re sanitized properly, make sure if you have to wear a mask, wear a mask,” she argued. .
“And, I also believe now is the time for us to look at those who are fully vaccinated. There must be some kind of privilege you should get from being fully vaccinated…. I can’t tell you up front what’s possible, but I know the minister and his team, and if they want me to be in opposition, we can get together to make recommendations.” , she said.
In light of what happened in August last year, Daley said event promoters need to ensure they adhere to COVID-19 prevention guidelines so that whenever the industry entertainment receives the green light, it stays open.
Nevertheless, she also pointed out that there is a need for proper oversight regarding how members of the entertainment promotion industry conduct their events.
She also stressed that only violators should be punished, if something goes wrong, and not a full-scale shutdown of the sector as was done in 2021, when the government sought to slow the spread of COVID-19, which, threatened to overwhelm the sector. the island’s health sector.
“Do you also know what the problem is? Supervision and follow-up. We give these people permission and we have no one, no manpower to make sure the regulations are followed,” she explained.
“What we need to do is that once they are untracked, these people are either banned for a short period or, depending on the nature of the circumstances, they are banned for a longer period. But at the same time, don’t put everyone in the same basket and end up making everyone suffer,” she added.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness hinted that he would embark on what he described as a “gradual and controlled process of returning our economy to full productive capacity”, subject to continued action. the downward trend in infections and hospitalizations.
Holness, who is the MP for St. Andrew West Central, said the science and data clearly support a “widening of the guardrails to allow for more economic activity”, and the numbers point to a rapid improvement in COVID – 19 situation since the peak of the fourth wave in January.
The prime minister also said his government would conduct further analysis of COVID data and “continue this process to give all Jamaicans the opportunity to earn a living while protecting their health.”