A guide to a safe re-opening of the events sector
Please note: Small Events (100 people or less) are exempt from this process, and should apply directly to the Municipal Corporation in their Parish.
CLASSIFICATION OF EVENTS
- Small Events (up to 100 persons at the event)
- Large Events (more than 100 persons at the event)
The distinction between small and large events is not based on the nature of the event but on the maximum number of persons allowed to be present. For example, a wedding with less than 100 persons in total would be a small event while one with more than 100 persons would need to follow the application and approval process for a large event.
Any event – INDOORS or OUTDOORS with no more than 100 persons (guests, patrons, organisers and support personnel) is classified as a SMALL EVENT.
A small event outdoors could be up to 100 persons. For indoor events (meaning those held in a covered area with controlled entry), there is a cap on the number of persons who can attend. This is determined as 60 percent of useable square footage (not including bathroom or kitchen) divided by 40 square feet, or 100 persons, whichever is lower.
The organisers of small events will be allowed to make applications for permits as they normally would through their local authorities who will work with them to ensure that the protocols are in place for a safe event.
There is therefore no need for a promoter/organiser of a Small Event to submit an application to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES) or the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) for pre-approval vetting. Application is to be submitted directly to the Municipal Corporation in the Parish in which the event is to be held, as would have been the process prior to covid-19.
Any event - INDOORS or OUTDOORS, with more than 100 persons at the event is classified as a LARGE EVENT.
The organisers of large events must first submit an ONLINE application to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
The Ministry will review the application to see that it meets the pre-approval requirements based on the covid-19 protocols and forward the application to the ODPEM, an agency of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The ODPEM will consult with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and any other relevant authorities in order to approve application for event to be held at a specified place and time.
Large events would include stage shows, church conventions, conferences or crusades and related activities.
Upon receiving approval letter from ODPEM the promoter will then move on to the next Phase, which is to apply to all the other Agencies/Entities for Permits and/or Licenses. This includes:
- The Municipal Corporation in the Parish in which the Event is being held
- The Jamaica Constabulary Force
- Jamaica Fire Brigade
DRIVE-IN EVENTS (Outdoors ONLY)
These include Drive-in Cinemas and Tailgate Parties. Up to 100% capacity of Venue is allowed. Motor cars must not exceed licensed capacity. Largest vehicle allowed will be a 15-seater and it must have no more than 8 patrons.
THEATRES & CINEMAS (Venues with Fixed Seating Only)
Up to 70% of the Fixed Seating Capacity of the Theatres and Cinemas will be allowed or one person to every 40 sq ft, whichever is LOWER. An empty seat must be left between persons from different households.
Generally, all the Public Order protocols which are outlined in the Disaster Risk Management Act (DMRA) are applicable to all events – Small and Large (including Drive-In Cinemas, Theatres, etc).
The attention of Event Promoters/Organisers is being drawn, particularly, to the following ten items which will assist in making any event a SAFE EVENT. We refer to this as TEND to the TEN.
TEND TO THE TEN
- PERMIT and/or LICENSE must be prominently displayed at the venue, so that all patrons and Law Enforcement Officers can have easy access, and can be assured that the event is an approved event.
- Assignment of Covid-19 Marshals.
- Temperature check for all persons on entry (including support staff)
- Sanitisation on entry (including support staff)
- Mask wearing at all times (except when eating or drinking, which must be done in a designated area)
- Prominent display of signage within the event – as a reminder of the Safety Protocols.
- Social Distancing decals to be placed in areas where people are likely to gather (Entrances, Exits, Bars, Restrooms, etc).
- See-Through Perspex Acrylic Barriers are to be placed at Customer Service points to protect Support Staff (Cashiers/Bar tenders, etc) and Patrons. Given the high cost this is optional.
- Rotation of Audio/Video recording of the Safety Protocols every 30 minutes during the event (or when practical to do so).
- Designation of an area as an ISOLATION AREA in which persons who display signs of Covid-19 can be placed temporarily until they can leave the venue.
GUIDELINES FOR THE REOPENING OF THE EVENTS SECTOR
There is still a risk that infections could rise, requiring enhanced measures to address the situation. But the Government is cognisant of the need to delicately balance LIVES with LIVELIHOOD. This is the reason which underpins the Government’s decision to reopen the Events Industry on a phased basis with effect from July 1, 2021. There must therefore be a clear understanding that this is a CONDITIONAL RE-OPENING and could be withdrawn at any time based on the public health situation in the country.
The crisis in the entertainment sector created by the pandemic presents an opportunity to reset the industry. In crafting the approach to events and entertainment careful attention was paid to reducing and mitigating the risk on the one hand, while optimising the social and economic benefits of a phased resumption on the other. This multi-billion Sector represents a key part of our competitive advantage and is vital to our economic recovery and long-term growth prospects. The industry has the potential to emerge from the crisis better and stronger than before.
Success depends on the 3-Ps (Patrons, Promoters, Protocols)
The success of this reopening will therefore depend entirely on strict observance by all (Patrons and Promoters) of the PROTOCOLS outlined. These Protocols are by and large in sync with Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols in place in the wider society, but with a few variations which are specific to the Industry (eg. Sanitising of microphones after each use, etc.)
POINTS TO NOTE:
- Avoid doing large events and gatherings when possible.
- Consider the level of risk when deciding to host an event.
- Promote healthy behaviours and maintain healthy environments to reduce risk, especially when large events and gatherings are held.
- Be prepared if someone gets sick during or after the event.
AVOID THE SPIKE
If we all observance the Protocols we can avoid a spike in Covid-19 infections and death. The GOJ is offering the following guidance to help prevent the spread of covid. Event planners are key to this happening. They have to take the lead by ensuring that their event is safe and compliant with the required protocols.
Risk Factors to Consider
Several factors can contribute to the likelihood of attendees getting and spreading Covid-19 at events – small and large. In combination, the following factors will create higher or lower amounts of risk:
- Number of Covid-19 cases in your community—High or increasing levels of Covid-19 cases in the event location or the locations the attendees are coming from increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Relevant data is published daily and can be found on the website of the MOHW at www.moh.gov.jm.
- Exposure during travel – Events with patrons travelling through airports, on airplanes, bus stations, buses, train stations, trains, and other forms of public transport poses higher risks.
- Setting of the event—Indoor events, especially in places with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor events.
- Length of the event—Events that last longer pose more risk than shorter events. Being within 6 feet of someone who has Covid-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (over a 24-hour period) greatly increases the risk of becoming infected
- Number and crowding of people at the event – Events with more people increase the likelihood of being exposed.
- Behaviour of attendees during an event— Events where people engage in behaviours such as interacting with others from outside their own household, singing, shouting, not maintaining physical distancing, or not wearing masks consistently and correctly, can increase risk.
EVENT RISK PROFILE
The risk of Covid-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:
•NO RISK: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
•LOW RISK: Small indoor/outdoor gatherings (less than 100) in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks at all times, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., a community, town, city)
•HIGH RISK: Medium-sized in-person gatherings (more than 100 but less than 1,000) that are organised/laid out to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks at all times, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., a community, town, city)
•HIGHEST RISK: Large in-person gatherings (more than 1,000) where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, do not all wear masks and fail to observe one of more of the other protocols, and travel from outside the local area.
Promoting Healthy Behaviours that Reduce Spread
Event planners/Promoters should consider implementing strategies to encourage behaviours that reduce the spread of Covid-19 among staff and attendees. These include (but not limited to):
- Educate Staff (and potential patrons) to stay Home when Appropriate
- Advise event staff and attendees to stay home if they have tested positive for Covid-19, are waiting for Covid-19 test results, have Covid-19 symptoms, or if they have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of Covid-19.
- Develop policies that strongly encourage event staff who are sick to stay at home without fear of reprisal, and ensure staff are aware of these policies.
- Consider developing flexible refund policies for patrons who stay away from the event because they become ill or are displaying symptoms.
- Standard practices
- Temperature check on entry
- Hand Sanitising on entry
- Physical (Social) Distancing
- Adjust the size of an event based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart.
- Remind attendees upon arrival to stay at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with them.
- Discourage attendees and staff from greeting others with physical contact (for example, handshakes). Include this reminder on signs about physical distancing.
- Require that staff and attendees wear well-fitting masks that fit completely over their nose and mouth. Make a plan beforehand for how compliance will be monitored and ensured.
- Encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and use masks at the event. Consider having disposable masks on-hand to provide to staff and attendees who do not bring their own.
- Advise staff and attendees that masks should not be placed on babies or children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- Require staff and attendees to either wash their hands frequently (for example, before, during, and after taking tickets, or after touching garbage) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if soap and water are not readily available, staff and attendees can use hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub their hands until dry.
- Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors. If possible, keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard.
- Adequate Supplies
- Ensure that you have adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene. Supplies include soap, water, hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol, paper towels, hand dryer, tissues, disinfectant wipes, masks (as feasible), and no-touch trash cans.
- Signs and Messages
- Post signs in highly visible locations (for example, at entrances, in restrooms) that promote the protocols.
- Broadcast regular announcements on reducing the spread of Covid-19 on public address systems.
Maintaining Healthy Environments
Event planners should consider implementing these strategies to maintain healthy environments.
- When to Clean
- Cleaning with products containing soap or detergent reduces germs on surfaces and objects by removing contaminants and may weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases risk of infection from surfaces.
- Cleaning high touch surfaces and shared objects intermittently during the event is usually enough to sufficiently remove virus that may be on surfaces
- Operational with functional toilets.
- Cleaned and disinfected regularly, particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, stall doors, doorknobs, countertops, diaper changing tables, and light switches.
- If you are providing portable toilets, also provide portable hand washing stations and ensure that they remain stocked throughout the duration of the event. If possible, provide hand sanitiser stations that are touch-free.
- Consider limiting the number of people who occupy the restroom at one time to allow for physical distancing.
- Ensure that people standing in line can maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. It may be helpful to post signs or markers to help attendees maintain the appropriate physical distance of at least 6 feet.
- Ensure that open restrooms are:
- Modified Layouts
- Best to prioritise outdoor activities, such as drive-in concerts.
- Limit in-person attendance or seating capacity to allow for physical distancing, or host smaller events in larger spaces.
- Use multiple entrances and exits and discourage crowded waiting areas.
- Change the seating layout or availability of seating so that people can remain at least 6 feet apart.
- If you are providing portable toilets, consider increasing the number provided and increase the spacing between them to reduce the likelihood of long lines in which it will be difficult to engage in physical distancing.
- Eliminate lines or queues. If that is not possible, encourage people to stay at least 6 feet apart by providing signs or other visual cues such as tape or chalk marks.
- Physical Barriers and Guides
- Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that people remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (for example, guides for creating one-way routes).
- Establish pedestrian traffic flow plans to reduce bottlenecks and ensure the ability to maintain physical distancing at the event.
- Consider using multiple, single-direction entrances and exits and discourage crowded areas where it may be difficult to maintain appropriate distance. Utilise separate event entry and exit points if feasible.
- Consider making walkways one-way or clearly divided for bi-directional movement. Provide appropriate directional signs and markers, such as those that are freestanding or on the ground, to indicate the appropriate direction of pedestrian movement.
- Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, in areas where it is difficult for people to remain at least 6 feet apart. Barriers can be useful at cash registers and other areas where maintaining a distance of 6 feet is difficult.
- Food Service
- Limit food or beverage service in areas in which people are more likely to congregate as that may encourage unmasked interactions.
- Use touch-less payment options as much as possible, if available.
- Ask customers and staff to exchange cash or card payments by placing them on a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand to avoid direct hand-to-hand contact.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as pens, counters, or hard surfaces between use and encourage patrons to use their own pens.
- Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that people remain at least 6 feet apart when waiting in line to order or pick up.
- People should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after removing their gloves or after directly handling used food service items.
- Avoid offering any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, and drink stations. Consider having pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee.
- Shared Objects
- Discourage people from sharing items that are difficult to clean, sanitise, or disinfect.
- Limit any sharing of food, tools, equipment, or supplies by staff members.
- Ensure adequate supplies to minimise sharing of high-touch materials to the extent possible; otherwise, limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of staff members or attendees at a time, and Designated Covid-19 Point of Contact
- Communication Systems
- Encourage staff, attendees, and vendors to self-report to event officials or a Covid-19 point of contact if they:
- Have symptoms of Covid-19
- Have tested positive for Covid-19
- Were exposed to someone with Covid-19 within the last 14 days.
- Advise attendees and vendors prior to the event or gathering that they should not attend if they have tested positive for Covid-19, are waiting for Covid-19 test results, are showing Covid-19 symptoms, or if they have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of Covid-19.
- Communicate with vendors to ensure they are aware of Covid-19 safety protocols being followed at the event.
- Put systems in place to:
- Staff Training
- Train staff on all safety protocols. Arrange Training sessions which are in compliance with protocols (physical distancing, etc).
- Sharing Facilities
- Encourage any organisations that share or use the same venue to also share the protocols used successfully.
- Lessons Learned After the Event
- Meet with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team for your venue to discuss and note lessons learned.
- Determine ways to improve planning and implementation processes if the event will happen again.
- Update your plans regularly according to the state and local situation and orders.
In Case Someone Gets Sick
Event planners should consider several strategies to implement in case someone gets sick.
- Advise Sick People of Home Isolation Criteria
- Communicate to sick staff members that they should not return to work until it is safe to do so.
- Isolate and Transport Those Who are Sick
- Establish an Isolation area at the Venue
- Immediately separate staff and attendees with Covid-19 symptoms (for example, fever, cough, shortness of breath) at the event and place them in the Isolation Area. They should thereafter go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on how severe their symptoms are, and go into Quarantine immediately.
- People who have had close contact with a person who has symptoms should be separated, sent home, and advised to go into Quarantine immediately.
- Establish procedures for safely transporting anyone sick or identified as a close contact to their home or hotel room or to a healthcare facility. If you are calling an ambulance or bringing someone to the hospital, call first to alert them that the person may have Covid-19. Other transportation should be by private vehicle. Public transport should not be used.
- Clean and Disinfect
- Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting them (for outdoor areas, this includes surfaces or shared objects in the area, if applicable).
- Notify Health Officials and Close Contacts
- Event planners should notify health officials about ALL cases of Covid-19 of which they are aware.
- Advise those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with Covid-19 to stay home and quarantine, self-monitor for symptoms
- Consider keeping a list of attendees and their contact information for potential future contact tracing needs.
Contact tracing is key to slowing the spread of Covid-19 and helps protect the community by:
- Letting people know they may have been exposed to Covid-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of Covid-19.
- Helping people who may have been exposed to Covid-19 get tested.
- Asking people to self-isolate if they have Covid-19 or develop symptoms of Covid-19 or to self-quarantine if they are a close contact.
Event organisers should collaborate with their local health department to facilitate case investigation and contact tracing for patrons.
GUIDELINES TO RESUME ACTIVITY
- Assessing current conditions and engage with the public health officials and the Ministry with responsibility for Entertainment when deciding whether to host events.
- Ensuring that temperature checks are conducted at entrance points of venue/facility.
- Maintaining sanitisation schedules
- Establishing Covid-19 contact team.
- Providing samples of the monitoring mechanisms to be operationalised to enable contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case of Covid-19.
- Install safety posters, signs and physical markers both to ensure consistency in messaging and that protocols are followed:
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Self-monitoring responsibilities
- Avoid face touching as much as possible.
- Physical marking at heavy traffic areas (Entrances, exits, Bars, etc)
- Adhering to capacity limitations in spaces at all times.
- Installing sensory sanitisation stations/wash stations.
- Establishing sanitation teams.
- Staff, Patrons MUST use frequent hand hygiene.
- Use of the recommended alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Disinfecting of high traffic areas (bathrooms/changing rooms, door knobs, gyms and weight rooms).
- Equipment MUST be sanitised between use (Mics, DJ Consoles, etc).
- Maintaining restrooms and establishing sanitation teams.
- Staff MUST not share personal items such as towels or water bottles.
- Staff/Patrons MUST not share items.
- Appoint Covid-19 Marshals.
- Staff, Patrons should check temperatures and assess their symptoms daily.
- Staff, Patrons with underlying health condition are at increased risk to Covid-19 and should consult with personal doctors before returning to sport.
- If a Staff member is unsure whether to report to work due to possible symptoms OR exposure, he or she MUST stay home and contact the MOH&W.
- If a member of staff or visitor to the venue/facility has a confirmed Covid-19 infection, ALL other persons who may have come in contact with the individual MUST be informed about their possible exposure to the virus, while maintaining confidentiality as required by law.
GENERAL PROTOCOLS AND NATIONAL GUIDELINES
- The protocols are consistent with and reference those published by the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Orders governed by the Disaster Risk Management Act. Any subsequent iteration of those guidelines will supersede those of the MCGES.
- Adhere to ALL Government of Jamaica issued Orders under the Disaster Risk Management Act (2015).
- Adhere to the Covid-19 Workplace Protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW).
Supporting Documents to be submitted/uploaded:
- Graphic Layout of Venue (showing all Entrances, Exits, Box Offices, Bathrooms, Stage, Dressing Rooms, Perimeter and other Fencing/Wall, Sanitisation Stations, Bars, Stalls for Food, Isolation Area/Room, any other structure in venue)
- Traffic Plan
- Health and Safety Plan
The inclusion of a Traffic Plan and a Site Layout for Large Events, especially those expecting over 1,000 patrons would greatly enhance the chances of the event being approved. Please note that the mere inclusion of these documents does not guarantee approval.