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Event planners count losses from public-gathering restrictions

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2020 | 12:07 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer

Event planners’ fates now hang in the balance as the Government continues to impose restrictions on public gatherings to contain and limit the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

On March 23, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that public gatherings would be limited to 10 people, down from an earlier restriction of 20.

Terrel Pencle, dietitian and promoter of the Teacup Brunch and Breakfast Party, hosted in Rhymesbury, Clarendon, is one organiser bemoaning the impact of the virus.

“The COVID-19 virus has definitely impacted us financially as we would have already exhausted approximately 70 per cent of our budget on promotional materials, venue, DJs, and other apparatus for event execution. With the announcement of the ban on social gatherings, we saw a rapid decline in ticket sales and had to do refunds of tickets and cabana sales for patrons as far as Canada, USA, and England,” he said.


He added, “Our team is just as concerned about everyone’s safety and well-being, so we are therefore committed to playing our part to minimise the proliferation of this virus. Our patrons’ lives and well-being is paramount; hence, we support the move by the Government.” Pencle said that the next Teacup party was to be held on Easter Monday, April 13.

Bobby McPherson, another event planner, whose event was slated for staging on March 22, cited financial losses when he spoke with The Gleaner. “As an event planner, you must always expect the unexpected. The Government putting a ban on public gathering has affected my team and I deeply as our event Skimpii Soca Fever was due in two weeks, when the [initial] ban was sanctioned. Financially, we lost over $300,000 in promotional material, permit payment, and venue, but that is a small price to pay to have a healthy life,” he said. McPherson noted that his team understands and supports the decision wholeheartedly. “The team understands the reason for this decision and fully supports it. We know the risks involved in public gatherings in regards to the COVID-19, and health comes first at all times,” he said.

Recently, actor and director Garfield Reid, more popularly known as ‘Bad Boy Trevor’, was charged after a police raid of a pool party hosted by him in St Andrew during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Jamaica has so far recorded 26 cases of the novel coronavirus.