Jamaica News: As community bars and taverns begin a two-week probationary reopening period on Tuesday (May 19), Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the necessary measures will be taken to ensure that there is full compliance with the reopening requirements.
Minister McKenzie was speaking during a virtual press conference on Monday (May 18) at the Office of the Prime Minister.
“I want to state clearly that the opening (Tuesday) only speaks to community bars and taverns.
That means sports bars, nightclubs and other establishments that sell alcohol will remain closed as the order [the Disaster Risk Management Order] stipulated previously,” he noted.
Minister McKenzie said that a field team of more than 600 persons has been temporarily employed and will be carrying out assessments at the bars within the next few days.
“They will be roaming the island to ensure that we get full compliance,” he noted.
Minister McKenzie is encouraging operators who have not started their preparations for reopening to begin. He pointed out that not all facilities are mandated to reopen, as they have the option of remaining closed if they are having challenges.
“I know that there are going to be challenges in some areas, especially the size of some of these bars. Some of the concerns we are getting are about the seating arrangements outside of these bars and this is something that we will take under consideration,” he said.
Bars islandwide were ordered closed from March 28 as part of measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Government instituted the two-week conditional reopening for community bars only, following which an assessment will be done and a decision made on the continued operation of the facilities.
The community bars have been given a number of conditions that have to be met in order to reopen.
These include accommodating no more than five persons at a time, including the bartender; and maintaining physical distancing of six feet between each single seating unit.
In addition, there shall be no stools, no benches, chairs or tables for people within the bar; and there shall be no group games, dominoes etc. inside the bar or on the premises occupying the bar.
Poker boxes and other such gambling and gaming instruments must be placed at least six feet apart to ensure social and physical distance.
Additionally, bar doors and windows must remain open during the operating hours and all the patrons, including the bartender, must wear a mask and protective clothing.
Source: JIS News