Culture ministry to increase covid19 safety measures

Minister of Community Development Culture and the Arts Nyan Gadsby-Dolly .
Minister of Community Development Culture and the Arts Nyan Gadsby-Dolly .

Additional covid19 preventive steps will be put in place at performing spaces before they reopen.

The Ministry of Community Culture and the Arts is drawing up a policy to cover sites such as the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), Queen's Hall and Naparima Bowl.

The ministry said Queen’s Hall will reopen on July 1, Naparima Bowl and SAPA on July 6, and NAPA on August 3. Reopening dates for other facilities are yet to be announced.

Draft guidelines were awaiting approval by line minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly up to Wednesday.

The guidelines cover patrons, artists, artistes, producers, service providers, staff, and managers.

The ministry’s corporate communications manager Rodelle Phillips-Simmons says they add to the health protocols issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

She said “The policy guidelines build on the protocols provided by the MoH with specific conditions to the unique nature of each facility. The details cannot be revealed yet because it is yet to be approved, but it seeks to enhance the safety of all people that use the facilities.”

AS wel as the four major performing arts centres the guidelines will cover other facilities that fall under the ministry such as community centres, civic centres, regional complexes, activity centres and homework centres.

Naparima Bowl’s CEO Marlon De Bique said last week “We need to look at the safety of our performers, production teams and other staff members and we are in full support of the health protocol documents laid out by both the MoH and our line ministry.”

The new restrictions will mean a decline in revenue, as seating capacity will be limited.

De Bique said, “The seating capacity at Naparima Bowl has been significantly reduced to less than 250, from a 500-seating arrangement."

The change would also affect overhead recurring costs, he pointed out, "since funding will be needed to maintain additional sanitation.”

Phillips-Simmons said the ministry was reviewing budgetary allocations considering the circumstances brought on by the covid19 pandemic.

The MoH’s guidelines for cinemas and theatres outlined specific seating arrangements to ensure physical distancing. It recommended that there should be six feet of space between families or groups of patrons on either side, and skipped rows, in addition to the general covid19 health practices.


"Culture ministry to increase covid19 safety measures"

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