(CMC) – There will be a Trinidad and Tobago Carnival this year for persons who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but there will be no fetes or parties, only concert-type shows, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts has announced.
After months of consultations with stakeholders, the Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday evening that approval has been given for safe-zone events, including soca and calypso concerts; calypso tents; soca, calypso, extempo and chutney competitions; Steelband concerts; Carnival King and Queen shows; and Carnival theatre.
“These safe-zone type events will be limited to 50 per cent capacity, with controlled entry and exit points and sanitisation upon entry in accordance with the public health regulations.
“Following public health guidance and regulations, fetes, parties and similar type events by any other name will not be allowed on account of the nature of those activities and the risk they pose to the increased spread of the COVID-19 virus. While PCR testing of patrons was considered as a form of risk mitigation, it was not deemed realistic as the cost per test per patron would be uneconomical,” it said.
The Ministry said a Carnival Working Group meeting was held on Tuesday to determine the specific events that will be held and a calendar of events is being developed.
“While we understand that the wait on a firm position for hosting the festival has caused some anxiety among stakeholders, there had to be careful and measured consideration given to vaccination rates, health sector capacity and current rates of infection and mortality. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts is optimistic the cautious re-opening of the entertainment and events sector, but is also deeply concerned with the deadly effects of the COVID-19 virus,” it added.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Senator Randall Mitchell said the move to stage a limited Carnival represents a first step in restarting the events sector.
“Given the economic importance of Carnival, we felt it was necessary to consider what was possible, and what events can be had safely. We look forward to the development of a calendar of events and its subsequent marketing so that we can all have a safe taste of the Carnival that is truly a part of all of us,” he said.
“While we remain committed to safely restarting the events and entertainment sector, we must consider the global scenario which is that Trinidad and Tobago, like the rest of the world, are in the midst of a global pandemic which continues to evolve with new variants being detected causing health organisations worldwide to quickly adapt and change strategies.”
The Ministry added that it will continue facilitating open dialogue among the cultural stakeholders to facilitate a safe and successful return to full events.