The Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Minister Randall Mitchell said the COVIDS-19 protocols are in place to protect all citizens, this in relation to the recent virtual/live streaming Sekon Sunday event held at Queen’s Hall.
Minister Mitchell met with Chairmen and Managers of all national performance spaces under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MTCA).
According to a release issued today by the Culture Ministry the meeting was called to address and to put additional measures in place to ensure that the operations of these spaces are in keeping with the letter, spirit and intent of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, which stipulate, among other things, operations at 50 percent capacity and modified seating arrangements to allow physical distancing.
Concerns were raised following the release of video from a live streamed event, Sekon Sunday at Queen’s Hall on Sunday 10 January 2021.
A Ministerial directive was given that going forward additional measures will be put in place to ensure patrons remain seated during performances.
Additionally, patrons will be not allowed to congregate in the front of the stage, in aisles, or unnecessarily move around during performances.
“Announcements and reminders will be made throughout the event as needed. Some spaces will further revise their seating arrangements to ensure the appropriate physical distancing.”
Minister Mitchell said, “No one can deny the passion and love that we have for our culture. We all really find it difficult not move when the Soca music captures you. The reality is, however, that the virus thrives in an environment where physical distance and other health measures are not observed and we can’t let COVID-19 win.”
Earlier today, Minister Mitchell and the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith also spoke on the issue of adherence to the Public Health Regulations at the national performance spaces and the outcome of his enquiries made into the Sekon Sunday event.
The Commissioner indicated his satisfaction with the COVID-19 Health Protocols in place at the Queen’s Hall and with the undertaking given by management to put additional measures in place to ensure physical distancing.
Minister Mitchell reiterated that the preservation of lives by reducing the spread of COVID 19 remains the Ministry’s first priority.
“We need our patrons to support these spaces by remaining disciplined and abiding by the health guidelines.,” said Minister Mitchell.
The MTCA anticipates that during the Carnival period creatives will seek out venues such as the national performance spaces to host their events. National performance spaces under the purview of the MTCA are:
• Queen’s Hall
• Naparima Bowl
• Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA)
• Northern Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA)
They were reopened last year utilising the health and safety guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for cinemas and theatre. Moreover, these national performance spaces also collaborated with the MOH to create health and safety guidelines specific to its industry.
The full guidelines for the performance spaces are available on the MTCA’s website: https://bit.ly/2J98Vjh.