Jamaica's sports minister announces arrangements for resumption of sports without spectators

By Sports Desk February 05, 2021

The Government of Jamaica has given the go-ahead for the resumption of sporting activities on a case-by-case basis.

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says provision for the resumption of sporting activities has been included in the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) (No. 2) Order, 2021.

“Under the Order, organizers of sports events must first send an application to the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.  We will review the application to see that it meets the requirements as outlined in this Order and transmit it to the Director-General of ODPEM,” Minister Grange said.

“If the ODPEM is satisfied, after consultation with the Ministry of Health, that the venue is appropriate, and that sanitization, mask-wearing and distancing protocols will be strictly observed, then the ODPEM will approve the application for the specific training and/or competition to take place at the specified place and time.  This is the process, and we all must follow this process.”

The Order mandates that sports events may be held only at venues that are enclosed by perimeter fencing, where there is access to proper sanitary conveniences and at places that are conducive to appropriate security measures.

Minister Grange emphasized that “no spectator will be allowed at sports competitions or training sessions at this time.”

She said each sporting activity must involve “regular cleaning of gear and equipment and the taking of the temperature of all athletes, coaches and officials who must be the only people allowed at the sports event.”

Each person at a sporting event must wear a mask, except when participating in any strenuous activity or water activity, and the person shall change the mask at least every four hours or upon the mask becoming wet.

The Order also mandates that there shall be no unnecessary contact between persons such as hugging, high-fives or touching, and personal items such as water bottles or towels shall not be shared.

“I am happy that this new Order has made provision for sporting events. We had been lobbying on behalf of sporting bodies to receive special exemptions for their events to take place.  Now that the Order has made provision for sports events, I am asking those sports bodies including the JAAA, boxing, swimming and others to resubmit their applications — no longer asking for an exemption, but to stage their events, including training sessions, under the provisions of this new Order,” the minister said. 

“You can’t just resume training or hold a competition.  You must follow the process and get approval.”

The minister has urged sports officials and athletes to become familiar with the rules for the resumption of sports and to follow them scrupulously as they are designed to keep everyone safe, adding that there will be consequences if the rules are not followed.

 “I emphasize that the process must be followed.  Only one entity has the authority to give approval for sports events, including training sessions.  Where there is a breach, we will take action.  In this regard, we are looking into the circumstances surrounding the calling up of the JFF training camp in Mona,” said Minister Grange.

 The following is an extract from the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) (No. 2) Order, 2021

(25) During the period from February 1, 2021, to February 28, 2021, the following provisions apply in respect of sporting events—

a person wishing to hold a sporting event (“the organizer”) shall submit an application, for approval of the holding of the event, to the Director of Sports in the Ministry with responsibility for sports, who shall review the application and transmit it to the Director-General;

on receipt of an application under subparagraph (a), the Director-General may, if satisfied after consultation with the Medical Officer (Health), that the matters specified in sub-paragraphs (d) and (e) are likely to be complied with in respect of the sporting event, issue to the organizer approval in writing in the form set out as Form 1 of the Fifth Schedule;

where approval is given under subparagraph (b), the Director-General shall send a copy of the approval to the Director of Sports in the Ministry with responsibility for sports, and to the Medical Officer (Health);

 sporting events may be held at venues—

enclosed by perimeter fencing;

where there is access to proper sanitary conveniences; and

              (iii)conducive to appropriate security measures

 the organizer of such a sporting event is directed to ensure compliance with the following requirements, at the sporting event and all training sessions therefor—

between each sporting event sufficient time shall be allowed to ensure the maintenance of the social distancing requirements of paragraph 12(b) and for the venue and equipment to be sanitized;

all areas for competition and training shall be properly cleaned and all gear and equipment sanitized before the beginning of each session and after each user;

              (iii)no spectator shall be allowed at the sporting event or training session;

              (iv) temperature checks of all athletes, coaches and officials shall be made and documented;

 each person at the event or training session shall wear a mask fitted to the person’s face so as to cover the person’s nose and mouth, except when participating in any strenuous activity or water activity, and the person shall change the mask at least every four hours or upon the mask becoming wet;

              (vi) there shall be no unnecessary contact between persons (such as hugging, high-fives or touching) and personal items such as water bottles or towels shall not be shared;

              (vii)all promotion for the event shall contain a reference to the COVID-19 protocols applicable thereto, including specific reference to the requirements for temperature checks, the wearing of masks, sanitization and social distancing;

              (viii)signage specifying the applicable COVID-19protocols, including handwashing procedures and social distancing requirements, shall be conspicuously placed throughout the venue and the training areas for the sporting event;

              (ix) the points of entry to the venue shall be separate from the points of exit;

restrooms shall be cleaned and sanitized at least once every hour; and

              (xi)audible public announcements urging compliance with the requirements of this subparagraph shall be made at least every fifteen minutes.

(26) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this paragraph, no business referred to in this paragraph shall operate during the hours when persons are required to remain at an abode or place of residence under paragraph 10.




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