As the Crop Over Festival kicks into full gear, the producers of Rise Barbados, are appealing to the Government for an update on the COVID-19 protocols for fetes.
Orlando Newton, executive producer of Nouvelle Vie, made the call while speaking at the Rise Barbados launch held at Halo Ultra Lounge, Wednesday afternoon.
“We are still the only industry that has been mandated to follow the ancient protocols that are in place where our patrons have to be tested or vaccinated in order to enter and also our workers in our industry…are under protocols that we have to be vaccinated and tested to actually work an event. That is actually difficult,” he remarked.
According to the Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Protocols) (No 9) Directive, all service providers, staff and performers at an event must produce evidence that they are fully vaccinated or a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 prior to the event. These same requirements apply to patrons.
However, all caterers and food hospitality workers are required to be fully vaccinated AND present a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours.
Additionally, should the event be held indoors, it cannot exceed three hours. The current Directive will expire June 25, 2022.
(From left) Organiser of Rise Barbados and executive producer of Nouvelle Vie, Orlando Newton in conversation with marketing and public relations, De Carla Applewhaite and co-producer of Rise Shane Archer.
Newton stressed that these restrictions were impeding the recovery of the entertainment sector which had been stifled by just over two years of a global pandemic.
“We feel that it is quite unfair at this present moment for our industry, the entertainment industry, which during the summertime is a key industry for tourism at this present time. It is also a key industry for our distributors and our culture which we now have invested in and waited for the last two and half years to get back into but you can go to a restaurant, you can go to a bar without these protocols,” he emphasised.
Newton argued that following concerns of a low summer season, investment in culture and entertainment is a pivot in the right direction for the tourism sector.
He indicated that groups from England, New York and within the Caribbean have expressed interest in attending Rise Barbados.
The event which is in its third year, is slated for July 27 at the Soca Arena [the carpark behind Kensington Mall]. The venue will be accommodating up to 7,000 patrons. The soca party includes a stellar lineup of acclaimed acts such as Grammy-nominated dancehall/reggae artiste, Spice, Skinny Fabulous, Problem Child and Kerwin DuBois. The confirmed local talents include Lil Rick, Marzville and Stiffy.
Marketing and public relations for Rise Barbados, Da Carla Applewhaite was also hopeful that some “leeway might be given as the time grows nearer”, especially as more fetes joined the Crop Over season’s event calendar.
“Admittedly, throughout the entire sector as you would note, the protocols are quite dynamic, and they do change perhaps every three to four weeks.
“Now that we have the opportunities that we can be outdoors and not wear masks, so we too are affected because we are working around that the overtures have been heard. Most of the event producers have made the overtures,” she noted.