By Latrishka Thomas
July 16is the tentative date for the very first fete in Antigua and Barbuda since the coronavirus reared its head in 2020.
And the eagerly-anticipated event will be a collaborative effort between local promoters, according to members of the interim board of the Promoters’ Association.
One such member, and promoter of popular Carnival events such as ‘Lots of Liquor,’ Chalita Rose told a press conference yesterday, “We met with our fellow promoters through our association meeting over the weekend and we would have moved a motion, and the Promoters’ Association has agreed that the first event will be a joint event between all promoters so there will not be any one entity hosting that event.”
Organiser of ‘Pure’ Joseph Warner chimed in saying that they chose to make it a joint event “to make sure everybody sees exactly what the protocols should be …it’s one thing with us saying it, another thing when we do the practical.”
The event will have a maximum capacity of 300 persons and will take place outdoors.
This is a requirement for all events taking place during phase one of the fete rollout.
“What the health officials have said, is that they don’t recommend any indoor events in the first stage because we want to minimise any risk that could be taking place…in the second phase as well I think they have no indoor events because I think that goes up to 900 and after that we phase in indoor events at 50 percent,” said Jime Hunte, promoter of events such as ‘Rise’.
Rose further explained that several other protocols must be upheld such as having hand-washing stations, mask-wearing, temperature checks and so on.
Those guidelines will be enforced by a taskforce of police officers, Ticketing app staff, promoters and officials from the Ministry of Health and the Festivals Commission.
“That taskforce will meet on each event. So basically, the process is, once you want to host an event in Antigua and Barbuda during this period you need to make an application through the Festivals Commission,” Rose explained.
“We have developed an application form which lists out the protocols you need to employ before you can say you’re having an event.
“One of the other facets towards those protocols too are that we would have accepted that venues need to be Covid-sanctioned so you need to be approved to have a venue…. the taskforce will send out their team to look at the venue based on your capacity – of course we know that that cap number is 300. They will approve the venue to ensure that you do have all the different elements that you need to have to ensure that your venue is Covid ready,” Rose expounded.
Warner disclosed that a fine will be imposed on any violators.
“There will be a $5,000 fine and your liquor licence will be taken away from you for future events,” he said.
As it pertains to mask-wearing, Hunte explained that it is merely a precautionary measure.
“We trust the science and we listened to our CMO and the Ministry of Health and they have asked us to encourage our patrons, if they are not eating and drinking continue to wear your mask.
“We understand that you’re fully vaccinated but we are not at herd immunity yet so we need to ensure that we are still responsible even though we’re having fun,” he stated.
Persons attending a fete will be required to register via the Ticketing app at least 48 hours ahead of the event.
Ticketing will then submit the names to the Ministry of Health for vetting since only persons who were fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the event will be allowed access to the fete.
Photo IDs will also have to be shown at the gate but there will be no gate purchases.
Meanwhile, the Promoters’ Association will be holding a public vaccination drive to help sensitise the public on matters relating to inoculation and the issuing of jabs.