Randall Mitchell
‘FOLLOW GUIDELINES’: Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell

If you attend a public performance or Carnival-type event, you will have to remain seated during the show.

This is the new mandate going forward amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts said yesterday.

In a statement, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said a meeting was held with chairmen and managers of all national performance spaces under the ministry to address and put additional measures in place to ensure operations of these spaces follow the Public Health Ordinance regulations.

These spaces include Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, Naparima Bowl, National Academy for the Performing Arts (South campus) in San Fernando and the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain.

They were reopened last year utilising the health and safety guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health for cinemas and theatres, the Tourism Ministry said.

“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,” the ministry said.

Additionally, Mitchell explained: “No one can deny the passion and love that we have for our culture. We all really find it difficult to 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.

“We need our patrons to support these spaces by remaining disciplined and abiding by the health guidelines. The protocols are in place to protect all of us.”

Meeting with Griffith

The new rules came after the Sekon Sunday concert held at Queen’s Hall last Sunday.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said police will investigate what happened at the event after video footage showed “numerous patrons” dancing to the music of several soca artistes, including performer Sekon Sta (Nesta Boxill).

Mitchell said he met with Griffith yesterday and they 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 ministry said Griffith “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”.

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