Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he is satisfied with the covid19 protocols for performances at Queen’s Hall, as well as an undertaking by the management to put additional measures in place to ensure physical distancing.
Griffith’s comments follow a meeting with Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell on Wednesday.
They spoke about adherence to the public health regulations at the national performance spaces and the outcome of his enquiries into the Sekon Sunday event.
In a release, the ministry said additional measures will be put in place to ensure patrons remain seated during performances. 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 directive came after a meeting between Mitchell and chairmen and managers of all national performance spaces under the ministry. These are Queen’s Hall, Naparima Bowl, Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), and Northern Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA). Concerns were raised after the release of video from the Sekon Sunday event at Queen’s Hall on January 10.
The meeting was called to urgently address and to put additional measures in place to ensure these spaces operate in keeping with the letter, spirit and intent of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, which stipulate, among other things, operations at 50 per cent capacity and modified seating arrangements to allow physical distancing.
Mitchell said, “No one can deny the passion and love that we have for our culture. We all really find it difficult not to 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 covid19 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.”
The ministry said it expects that creative artists will seek out venues such as the national performance spaces to host their events during the Carnival period.
The spaces were reopened last year, using the health and safety guidelines issued by the Health Ministry for cinemas and theatre, and collaborated with the ministry to create health and safety guidelines specific to the industry.