COVID-19 update and press conference – February 26, 2022. (PMO)

For the first time in two years, Barbadians will have an opportunity to play mass, as the country gears up for Crop Over 2022 and the Season of Emancipation.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley this evening gave the green light for the annual events to take place this year, after they were cancelled over the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, for those seeking to play mass, it will not be the usual ‘jump’ with costumed revelers moving from the National Stadium to Spring Garden.

Speaking during a COVID-19 update flanked by Minister of Health and Wellness, Ian Gooding-Edghill; Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins; and other health officials, the Prime Minister outlined changes to Grand Kadooment and the Foreday Morning jump.

“We have now agreed that we will decentralise this [so] that we will have at least eight venues that will accommodate persons wanting to play mass for Foreday Morning and for Grand Kadooment,” she stated.

Consultations to refine the specific events will take place next week with Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Culture, Dr. Chantal Munro-Knight; Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Carol Roberts-Reifer and stakeholder groups.

However, persons attending the decentralised venues for Crop Over events will be subject and required to adhere to the same rules that exist for persons attending fetes over the coming months.

Those include being granted permission for entertainment events through the NCF and the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit. However, the number of patrons attending an event would now be determined by the size of the venue, rather than the arbitrary cap that occurred before.

“That consideration of the size of the venue and roughly the ability to allow people to adhere to the three-foot distancing rule will determine what those venue numbers will be. That will vary from venue to venue to venue,” the Prime Minister explained.

Meanwhile, the minimum requirement for attendance will continue to be that persons be fully vaccinated or show a negative test taken at least 24 hours prior to the event.

The requirement that service providers and technical crew be fully vaccinated and have a negative test also remains in effect because they have a duty of care to the persons attending the event, Ms. Mottley maintained.

“We are happy for this because we know that after two years of no Crop Over and no release, people are more than waiting for this opportunity. But as you have heard from Dr. George, we will continue to live, but safely so,” she emphasised said.

Prime Minister Mottley noted that the eight venues, properly fenced and with the protocols in place, would be welcomed by Barbadians and visitors as one of the first “more than a Carnival-type events” in the region.

The Prime Minister gave that assurance that after discussions with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Government was satisfied that such events could take place safely, while applying the “gas and brakes” as conditions warranted.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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