Promoter laments Easter weekend lockdown | Entertainment

Overenthusiastic and optimistic promoters who were advertising events in anticipation that the Government would relax gathering restrictions and shorten curfew hours are now disheartened that the season which used to bring in the ‘cheese’ get ‘bun’.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced tighter measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19. Among them is a full lockdown or ‘no movement days’ for the Easter weekend.

Party promoter Ramois McIntosh told THE STAR that in creating concepts for small events, he and his team usually plan around the holidays. However, this time, he said they partnered with a restaurant to host ‘Breakfast Pop-Up’ on Sunday, April 4.

No permits for parties

“There are no permits for parties, so we saw that a partnership with restaurants was beneficial in keeping the brands out there, to have money coming in, and still have the entertainment element for the few that choose to enjoy their food in the space while adhering to the protocols,” he said. However, with an ‘all-day curfew’ scheduled for April 4 , McIntosh added “we unfortunately have to postpone it, and it’s not at a loss. But of course, there will be no income”.

He said that the entertainment industry is currently gambling to stay alive, with many of his colleagues seeking to partner with food establishments and bars for small-scale cookouts and round robins. Those who can make connections continue to seek opportunities to have their events overseas, which is also a high-stake wager.

“Going into foreign backyards means having to host the event more than once to attract the numbers to make a profit. It also costs to travel so I personally don’t bother to go and trust that the partner can manage. We did so successfully with Coco ‘Ladies Playground’ series in New York,” he said. “Here [in Jamaica], we can’t use the names of the events we are more known for, because it risks getting a huge turnout. That also happened in Miami. We had to opt out of an event there because of the positive feedback.”

He said members of the diaspora and foreigners, known to vacation in Jamaica during busy holiday seasons, and who are usually familiar with the event names, tend to give the most support.

On Sunday, Holness noted that Jamaica has left its borders open since last June in order “to keep our economy going and to keep our lifeline of tourism”.

McIntosh said the prime minister’s effort may be coming from a good place, but the economy is not going in a direction that helps promoters to keep their heads above water.

“The economy is not on our side right now. Sometimes I want to adhere to the rules and stay put, but everything ah raise. We have our expenses and we have to do what we have to do to support our families. So yes, we try to do these smaller events with a different concept whether here and more so abroad,” he said.

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