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Government Announces Recrafted Covid-19 Measures

Government Announces Recrafted Covid-19 Measures

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced recrafted Covid-19 measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA). The amended measures will begin on June 3, 2021, and expire June 30, 2021.

Speaking yesterday (June 1, 2021) in Parliament, Prime Minister Holness said, “All through the pandemic, we have been guided by the data and the science in our management. Our approach has been evidence-based, measured, proportionate, and situationally appropriate. We have also been fair and equitable. While we cannot become complacent, the declining numbers do support some relaxation of the measures.”

However, the Prime Minister noted that while there has been improvement in the Covid-19 situation in the country over the last two months, significant risks remain as only approximately 5% of the population has received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and less than 1% is fully vaccinated.

In that regard, the Prime Minister reiterated that all Jamaicans must remain cautious and diligent in observing the protocols of wearing masks, physical distancing, and sanitizing.

“We have now experienced two spikes in Jamaica. We know the behaviours and the carelessness that result in spikes. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let us view the relaxation of the measures, not as a free-for-all but as an opportunity to safely pursue our livelihoods and other activities that enhance our spiritual and mental health needs. Let us exercise personal responsibility, to prevent a third wave that will force us to tighten the measures once again,” said Prime Minister Holness.

The recrafted measures are as follows.

Curfew Hours:

  • The curfew hours for weekdays (Monday to Friday) will be 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning ending at 5 a.m. on July 1, 2021.
  • For weekends, on Saturday 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning.

Controlled Entry Protocols:

  • The quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated persons has been reduced to eight (8) days from 14 days.
  • For persons who are not fully vaccinated, the quarantine period remains at 14 days.
  • The travel ban for South American countries (Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Paraguay) as well as for India and Trinidad & Tobago is also being extended until June 30, 2021.

Other Measures:

  • The age limit for the stay-at-home measure remains at 60. However, persons who are fully vaccinated will be exempt, they are encouraged to carry evidence of their vaccinations with them and follow the Covid-19 protocols.
  • The existing work from home directive in the public sector has been extended until June 30, 2021. For the private sector, employers should allow all persons who can work from home to do so.
  • The public gathering limit will remain at 10 persons.
  • Public entities may now hold events such as handing-overs, launches, ground-breakings, opening ceremonies, or similar events but there should be no more than 30 persons physically present.
  • For markets and public arcades, the operating hours will be from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Markets will remain closed on Sunday.
  • Public transportation operators will still be allowed to be on the road one hour before and one hour after curfew but there can be no passengers in the vehicles during those periods.
  • Motor vehicles that provide public transportation are to have one less passenger than is allowed by the licence.
  • The ban on funeral services has been extended.
  • Memorial services are permitted with observance of the Covid-19 protocols with the limit on the number of persons applicable to normal worship services.
  • The existing limits on burials remain in place with a maximum of 10 mourners permitted and an additional 5 persons comprising the officiating clergy, grave diggers, and undertakers.
  • Burials will be allowed on Monday to Friday only during the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and the time for conducting the burial is limited to 30 minutes.
  • Normal worship services are permitted. Crusades, conferences, or conventions are not permitted.
  • The maximum number of persons who may be physically present to facilitate worship or electronic broadcast (including officiating clergy and technical support personnel) will be increased from 30 to 50, effective June 3, 2020.
  • The cap on the number of persons permitted at a marriage ceremony will be increased from 15 to 50.
  • All beaches and rivers will be open effective June 3, 2021. However, they will be subject to the same protocols as applied to those that are under organized management and control.
  • No more than 10 persons at a time shall gather in any one area of the beach; social distancing must be maintained except for members of the same household, family, or group, who may gather in groups consisting of two persons each.
  • Activities at the beach shall be limited to swimming, exercising, and sunbathing. No beach parties or group games (such as football or volleyball) shall be permitted.
  • Beaches and rivers will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday to Saturday and from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Zoos, parks, gyms, attractions, and bars are subject to the existing restrictions and must close at 6:00 p.m.
  • Amusement or gaming arcades not licensed under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act) must remain closed.
  • Indoor cinemas and establishments that stage theatrical or artistic performances will remain closed.
  • The ban on events such as concerts, parties, tailgate parties, round robins will continue.

Prime Minister Holness said, the Government has engaged in discussions with the entertainment industry to determine the appropriate protocols to facilitate a limited reopening of the industry in the summer.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister is imploring the public to take personal responsibility and follow the protocols strictly to avoid a spike or third wave.