By Latrishka Thomas
Live and loud entertainment is not permitted at bars and restaurants in Antigua and Barbuda, Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin is reminding the public.
“It has been said before now, since before the last lockdown, that bars are not allowed to have no form of entertainment like live bands and DJs that would cause patrons to be dancing,” she told Observer.
“That is what we don’t want because the dancing will bring people close together and that’s a super spreader if we allow that to happen.”
Martin disclosed that the Central Board of Health had received reports and video evidence of potential super spreader events over the weekend.
“Last weekend it was reported to us some bars in and around St John’s – it was a crazy situation. Hundreds of people, music blasting, people gyrating, carrying on and it was not supposed to be,” she disclosed.
“You can play music but, like, soft music – not loud – soft.” she added.
Martin further indicated that activities such as karaoke can take place once social distancing is maintained.
She said, “I’ve never seen a karaoke show per se but if persons are seated during a karaoke, nothing is wrong. What is wrong is when people get up to dance to music and they are not social distancing.”
The top health inspector shared that police will be ramping up their efforts this weekend as it pertains to nightspots.
She is therefore urging venue owners to err on the side of caution or be forced to shut down.
“I would like to appeal to them to stop it because if they are caught playing loud music, having hundreds of people and carrying on and they are closed down, they won’t be getting a reopening in a hurry.
“So better safe than sorry. Play soft music, entertain your patrons and let life go on,” she cautioned.
In late January, entertainment spots were ordered to close their doors due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
Restaurants were limited to take-out service only for several weeks, before being allowed to resume in-house dining on March 19.
Then, in early May, the Cabinet announced bars and clubs could reopen on May 19 with a string of strict rules in place, including a requirement for all owners and employees to be vaccinated.
The venues must also temperature check guests, monitor hand washing and keep a suitable distance between tables.