by Dominique Lescott
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): COVID-19 has presented challenges on all levels for organisers, requiring stakeholders to collaborate not just on the entertainment but primarily on the health and safety of partygoers.
Organisers have been forced to revisit plans, shift venues, and implement strict policies designed to keep patrons safe. One of these initiatives is the cancelling of the very popular street parade portion of the celebrations.
“There will be no street parades at this carnival,” said Shannon Hawley, Chairperson of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival Committee at Wednesday’s Sugar Mas Press Conference.“Everyone participating in National Carnival activities has to be fully vaccinated and this was the advice of the Task Force.”
One of the events most impacted is ‘bubble J’ouvert which remains without a set venue but will move indoors for the first.
“The event is going to be open to 75% of the capacity of the venue”. At the press conference, Loftus Bridgewater, the Chair of Production, Sites, Special Events & Event Coordinator, told the media that “we are still in consultation as to where we are going to be doing the J’ouvert. We will get that information to you guys as soon as we have confirmed that venue”
The chair addressed the fringe events and the impact of the short notice on promoters and when they are going to be released. Hawley said mass events are not part of the regulations but “There’s no carnival without private entertainment”. Hawley has advised event promoters to be on standby because regulations can change at short notice. It is hoped that when the milestone 80% vaccination in the federation is reached, that the rules will be relaxed for vaccinated audiences.
All National Carnival Committee events will be live and streamed virtually because of the limited numbers of people permitted in the audience, also allowing those off island to enjoy the 50th celebrations.
The Marriot Hotel in Frigate Bay will be the venue for the Queen show and Swimsuit competition. Hawley added, for years, the audience have complained about not having a nice enclosed event to dress up, which can hold the capacity of attendees. The Dome in the Marriott provides the solution.
To avoid crowds in the line to shows and events, the gates will be open two hours before and attendees need their vaccination card and identification.
When asked what protection is in place against attendees contracting COVID-19, the chair explained that every participant and their entire team are vaccinated, which was guidance from the COVID-19 Task Force. Hawley also confirmed that 99% of the National Carnival Committee team are vaccinated and only 2 or 3 are not because of medical reasons but are PCR tested regularly.