Latest News

COVID-19 Embraced In Planning And Execution Of Regional Platform

(JIS) – The effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have been embraced in the planning and execution of the Seventh Regional Platform instead of being viewed as obstacles, says the Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Secretariat for the Americas, Raul Salazar.

He told JIS News that discussions were held with the Government of Jamaica, hosts of the Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean, on how to reprogramme the event once the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Caribbean.

“Jamaica remained very committed to the initial pledge to carry out the platform and once the date was defined, then the advisory council started to revise the agenda and decide which topics would be addressed.  COVID-19, which is a biological hazard, immediately became the centre of discussions,” he noted.

Mr. Salazar said that incorporating COVD-19 into the discussions on disaster risk reduction was not difficult because this type of hazard is covered in the Sendai Framework and is impacting all 35 countries in the region.

“We had discussions on how countries were prepared to address a hazard of this nature, reflecting on the capabilities of systems to address this situation, and how the Regional Platform would become a space for the country representatives to discuss what would be the future. These discussions include how disaster risk reduction could be addressed within the context of a pandemic that has started the process of systemic risk [assessment],” said Mr. Salazar.

He noted that systemic risk refers to the negative impacts of the health pandemic on other sectors like tourism and education, and on unemployment and gross domestic product (GDP).

COVID-19 has been incorporated into the four-day Regional Platform, with sessions examining topics such as ‘A regional approach to coordination on multi-hazards: 2020 lessons from the Caribbean’, ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance: Lessons from COVID-19’, and ‘Achievements and challenges of risk governance in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The case of Uruguay’.

At the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, where the Regional Platform hybrid sessions are been conducted, local COVID-19 protocols are also being observed with social distancing across several session viewing rooms, mask wearing and the daily logging of temperatures of participants.

The Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is being hosted by the Government of Jamaica from November 1 to 4 on the virtual platform, Hopin.

It is organised in partnership with the UNDRR and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

Local Government Minister Says Covid-19 Protocols Will Be More Strictly Enforced After Party Boat Incident In Negril

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has warned that the enforcement of the Disaster Risk Management Act will be intensified as persons continue to attempt to find new ways to host and attend events in breach of the law.

“Just last weekend, there was an incident in Negril in which a party vessel capsized with many patrons aboard who were attending a floating party, and the video of the event and the incident has been widely shared. While we are relieved that there were no injuries or deaths reported, the fact is that all entertainment events are prohibited by Order. I have noted that the Westmoreland police are investigating the matter, and the fact is that all who organized this event, including the owners and managers of the vessel, and those who attended it are liable for prosecution. Earlier this year, all Cays were closed to entertainment events, as persons tried to find creative ways to host illegal parties. It is clear that there are people who are determined to devise any means possible to do what they know is illegal and stage entertainment events. The Ministry, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the police are even more determined to interrupt these activities and prosecute those who promote their own interest over that of public health and safety.

“I cannot ask too often for our citizens and visitors to obey the law. I also wish to remind the public that now that the Disaster Risk Management Act has been amended, these offences attract specific fines, as well as a maximum fine of J$1 million and a maximum of one year in prison on conviction in the courts. The police are also no longer required to warn offenders before prosecuting them.

I therefore urge everyone to do the right thing, obey the law and safeguard your health and your life, as we manage COVID-19.”

Minister McKenzie Says Adjustments To National Burial Ban Possible, – After Consultations With Stakeholders In The Funeral And Burial Industry

As the Government of Jamaica continues its efforts to spearhead the management of COVID-19 through a range of measures, the Cabinet has this week indicated that it may favourably consider limited adjustments to one of those measures – a two-week ban on all burials – which took effect on Monday.

At a special news conference following the meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, revealed that he and Ministry officials have been meeting with representatives of the final care industry, including proprietors of funeral homes, who have expressed public health and financial concerns following the announcement of the temporary ban by Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness last Sunday.

“We met on the 2nd and the 8th of March, and we have agreed to meet again before the end of this week. The exchanges have been very frank and useful. On the economic side of things, it was put to us that gravediggers and other labourers at burial sites are paid only when burials actually take place, and so they would be out of pocket during the two-week pause on burials. Consideration is therefore being given to provide grants to these persons who will be affected.”

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development also stated that an adjustment to the temporary ban on burials is being contemplated by Cabinet, with the possibility of allowing:

  1. The burial or cremation of bodies that are in an advanced state of decomposition.
  2. The burial or cremation of bodies that are not in an advanced state of decomposition, but have been recommended for immediate burial by the appropriate health authorities, and
  3. The burial or cremation of indigent persons who die in state care.

Golden Age Home Contact Information

PARISH Telephone Number assigned
Golden Age Home 876-393-9992, 876-393-9988, 876-571-4794, 876-551-2383
ST. THOMAS 876-393-9860, 876-3939867
PORTLAND 876-393-9859, 876-393-9858
ST. MARY 876-393-9820, 876-393-9826
ST. ANN 876-393-9853, 876-393-9842
TRELAWNY 876-393-9838, 876-394-0002
ST. JAMES 876-393-9922, 876-393-9920
HANOVER 876-393-9904, 876-393-9915
WESTMORELAND 876-393-9870, 876-393-9902
ST. ELIZABETH 876-393-9939, 876-393-9931
MANCHESTER 876-393-9940, 876-393-9946
CLARENDON 876-393-9947, 876-393-9948
ST. CATHERINE 876-393-9986, 876-393-9987
Denham Town GAH 876-393-9952, 876-393-9984


List of Beaches and Rivers ordered closed

Parish Beaches Rivers
Kingston and St.Andrew (6) Bob Marley  Beach Cane River Falls
Penfield River
Grove River
Cane River (Dallas)
Hope River
  1 5
St.Catherine (2) Hellshire    Beach Caymanas River/Natures Paradise River
  1 1
Clarendon (3) Farquhar Beach Salt River
Cockpit River
1 2
Manchester (4) Alligator Pond Beach Alligator Pond River
Noisy River (Oxford  River)
Gutts River
  1 3
St.Elizabeth (1) Great Bay Beach
1  0
Westmoreland    (3) Bluefields Beach Sweet River
Norman Manley Beach  Roaring River
2 2
Trelawny (4) Burwood Beach
Jacobs Taylor
Half Moon Bay
Victoria/Charlott Beach
St. Ann (4) Ocho Rios Bay Beach/Turtle Beach Little Dunns  River
Fantasy Beach
Cardiff Hall Beach /Flavours Beach
3 1
Portland (3) Winnifred Beach
St. Mary (2) Spanish Bridge River
  Blue Hole River -Cascade
   0 2
St.Thomas (3) Yallahs River
Reggae Falls
Roaring River
Total 35 16 Beaches 19 Rivers

Kingston Hookah Lounge ordered closed for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Orders

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, has ordered the closure of 420 Hookah Lounge Jamaica at Manor Park Plaza in Kingston for breaches of Orders promulgated under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two employees from the establishment were arrested and charged by police on Sunday for breaches of the curfew order.

“The establishment has been ordered closed for 14 days for breaches. During this period, the operators will be required to obtain the necessary permits, including certification from the Jamaica Fire Brigade, to support their operations,” the Minister explained.

“There are other entities under our microscope and the same treatment will be meted out to them. We have further learnt that there are nightclubs operating under the guise of restaurants and lounges where the prescribed guidelines are being flouted. The names of these entities have been forwarded to the Jamaica Constabulary Force for further investigations.”

The public is being reminded that no approvals have been granted for the reopening of nightclubs. Community bars, taverns, sports bars, lounges, and restaurants can operate within the outlined Covid-19 protocols.

Minister McKenzie has also announced the creation of a new enforcement team to ensure that all entities for which the Ministry is responsible, adhere to the provisions of the DRMA Orders. The team has started work in the Kingston Metropolitan Area.

“The Government has issued a series of Orders since March, when COVID-19 was first detected in Jamaica. We have witnessed varying levels of compliance with these Orders by entities as well as by the general public, and the police have been working to enforce them, while our Agencies such as the Social Development Commission (SDC) have been instrumental in developing protocols and measuring compliance.”

The Ministry’s special enforcement team will comprise personnel from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, SDC and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation.

“This new initiative will not replace the police. It is intended to complement the efforts of the Constabulary, which is already heavily involved in this new COVID-19 dimension of policing, as well as performing its normal duties,” the Local Government and Rural Development Minister said.

“The Government is determined to do everything possible to manage the pandemic in a way that ensures that the new normal has a space for everyone to thrive. This is exactly why we need full compliance with all protocols, so that public health and economic recovery can co-exist, to the benefit of our citizens.”

Reggae Mill Closed, But Other Businesses at Devon House To Remain Open

Following his announcement of the closure of Devon House effective today, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie has disclosed that only the Reggae Mill, the business tenant at the centre of the violation of COVID-19 protocols, will remain closed.
“In addition to announcing the closure yesterday, I indicated that a meeting would be held today with the management of Devon House. That meeting was held, and the decision has been made that the remaining 25 shops that operate out of Devon House should not be penalized for the offence committed at the Reggae Mill venue. Accordingly, they will remain open, but the Reggae Mill is now closed for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Order.
“The Reggae Mill will be closed for two weeks. Additionally, no Place of Amusement licence will be granted for four to six weeks. The operations of Devon House will be closely monitored to see to it that the management of the entity takes all necessary steps to ensure that there are no further breaches of the protocols. As I indicated yesterday, the police have been provided with a list of venues operating in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Order, and they are being investigated with a view to prosecution.
“I will continue to appeal to everyone to obey all the COVID-19 protocols. We are in the middle of a pandemic, and the Government is resolute that no violations of the public health protocols will be tolerated. Once again, I must say how encouraged I am by the civic-minded Jamaicans who are reporting the violators, and we will deal with the breaches as they are disclosed to us.”

Minister of Local Government Urges All Community Bar Owners and Operators to Obey All Rules When They Are Allowed to Re- Open on May 19

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Honourable Desmond McKenzie is urging owners and operators of community bars and taverns to fully comply with the requirements governing their re-opening, which was announced earlier this week.

“It is important to emphasize that this re-opening period applies only to community bars and taverns. Sports Bars, nightclubs and other places of amusement, where alcohol would normally be sold, will remain closed as per the Disaster Risk Management Order.

“I wish to remind the proprietors of the community bars and taverns that the reopening of their operations is conditional, and at the end of the two-week period that starts on May 19, the levels of compliance by owners and operators island-wide will be assessed by the teams that we already have on the ground. Thereafter, a decision will be made as to whether community bar operations will continue. Based on some of the feedback we have been having, it is clear that there will be a strong effort to comply with the distancing and sanitary protocols, but we know that there are some who will try to defy them, or comply only with the rules they consider most convenient. I am encouraging all stakeholders to obey the rules governing the re-opening, as this will be to everyone’s benefit.

“I also want to make it clear that this Administration respects the judgment of our entrepreneurs. If you own a community bar or tavern, and you believe that due to health or financial reasons, it is not wise to re-open on May 19, we fully understand and support your decision. What we are seeking is full co-operation from those owners and operators who intend to re-open their community bars and taverns come May 19.

“The Government fully understands the need for our people to earn a proper living and to regain their financial footing, and that is exactly why full compliance with the rules is critical. Those who breach the protocols will not be allowed to remain open and threaten the complete closure of community bars across the island.

“I ask that our community of bar and tavern owners take advantage of this opportunity in the prescribed way, as we work to restore our economy even as we battle COVID-19.”


1. Opening Hours: 11:00 am each day to one hour before that day’s curfew begins.

2. Social and physical distancing must be maintained.

3. No more than five people including the Bartender shall be in the bar at any one time.

4. Patrons who enter the bars must wear face masks.

5. Bartenders must wear face masks, and are strongly encouraged to wear face shields and protective clothing.

6. All seating arrangements outside the bars must be maintained, that is physical distancing of six feet between each single seating unit.

7. There shall be no stools, no benches, chairs or tables for people within the bar.

8. There shall be no group games, dominoes etc. inside the bar or on the premises occupying the bar.

9. Poker boxes and other gambling and gaming instruments must be placed at least six feet apart to ensure social and physical distancing.

10. There shall be no events that promote social gathering such as parties.

11. Bar doors and windows must remain open during the operating hours.

12. Each bar must have a sanitization station for the proper washing of hands, and must maintain sanitation protocols that will be set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

13. All bars should display proper signage to advise people of the protocols under which they will operate.

Covid-19 Measures: Special Feeding Programme for the Homeless

KINGSTON, Jamaica (March 30, 2020): The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has embarked on a special feeding programme in the Corporate Area to benefit the homeless.

The initiative is among the raft of measures designed to address the country’s vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Minister Desmond McKenzie breakfast will be provided daily between 9:00am and 10:00am, and dinner served from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

The special intervention – being organized through the municipal corporations – began in the Corporate Area on Sunday, March 29 where a total of 350 persons were fed across the locations of Downtown Kingston, Cross Roads, Half-Way-Tree, Papine and New Kingston.

“This feeding programme will complement what we are presently doing in the other parishes where our drop-in centres are providing daily meals and supplies for persons living on the streets,” the Minister explained.

The special feeding programme is being funded by a J$150 million allocation from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, as well as a percentage of the Local Government and Community Development Ministry’s budget.

The homeless will receive two cooked meals from Sunday to Friday over the next two months. These persons will also get care packages with ready-to-eat items for use on Saturdays.

“The Corporate Area poses the greatest challenge in all of this because we don’t have a facility outside of the Marie Atkins Night Shelter, which is already bursting at the seams,” noted Minister McKenzie.

“We are also working assiduously to find a location where we can take some of these persons off the streets especially in the Corporate Area on a temporary bass.”
Jamaica’s homeless population numbers over 2,000 persons – the majority of whom are found in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew.

Additionally, the Government continues to receive support for the special feeding programme from stakeholders including the Food For The Poor and the Salvation Army.

COVID-19: New guidelines for the beauty industry

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Government has announced new restrictions to guide the beauty industry as the country adapt new measures to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Effective March 25, operators of beauty salons, barbershops, hairdressers, barbers and cosmetologists are only allowed to conduct business from 10am to 5pm daily.
Additionally, barbers and hairdressers must not have more than two people waiting in a salon at any time.

The new restrictions have been published in the The Jamaica Gazette Supplement, Proclamations, Rules and Regulations – DRM (Enforcement Measures – No.2.) dated March 24, 2020.

Public gatherings are now limited to 10 people and public markets will continue to observe the 6:00am to 2:00pm opening hours.

Workers in the public sector aged 65 years and older must work from home except where special permission is granted in the March 24 order. Other persons who can work from home should continue to do so for a further 14 days from March 25 to April 7, 2020.

Persons who are 75 years and older are required to remain at home for 14 days. There will be some exemptions.
Schools will remain close until the end of the Easter term.
Every person who entered Jamaica on and after March 18 must remain in quarantine for a further 14 days with effect from March 25.