The Island of 365 Rivers would like these event professionals or not to be well prepared to receive crowds during Covid-19, especially at Christmas and Carnival time.
On 27 October, Dominica’s Technical Committee on Reopening of Borders Program invited event organizers to take part in an online meeting to discuss protocols and procedures for organizing and hosting mass gatherings. In the announcement, the TCRBP recalled that this meeting “is particularly important for event organizers planning to host events over the Independence season and as we approach the Christmas and Carnival season“. And it added: “If you are an event organizer where groups of people will come together to gather for any experience, please plan to attend in order to provide input“.
The Island of 365 Rivers is keen to adopt the good gestures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus in the presence of crowds.
This procedure – also applied by the other Caribbean islands which are beginning to reopen their borders – was used with the local population since the island has just celebrated the 42nd anniversary of its independence under the theme “Embracing New opportunities”.
Indeed, from October 3 to November 3, 2020, several virtual and physical festivities were scheduled (Dominica Historic Week, National Art exhibition, Creole Day, National Cultural Gala etc.) even if some inhabitants think that many of these events should have been cancelled.
As we know, the Christmas festivities in December of this year and carnival in early 2021 are also moments of great gatherings, great reunions with family members living outside the country and welcoming foreign visitors. The Government of Dominica, which is probably monitoring the evolution of Covid-19 and scientific discoveries (vaccines, medicines…) has not yet announced whether carnival will be maintained or cancelled, as it is also an important sector of its tourist economy.
Living in “covidianity”
In any case, despite the uncertainty due to this period of “covidianity”, Dominica cannot remain in a bubble indefinitely. All the Caribbean islands which live largely from the tourism business are now financially drained with the interruption of air traffic and cruise ship stops since last March. It is now becoming urgent to reopen the airports to receive tourists, even if all the health standards can discourage many of them… About the cruise ships – accused of having carried the coronavirus – they will not return to the Caribbean Sea in the coming weeks.
Moreover, on September 2, Dominica officially announced the cancellation of the 22nd edition of the World Creole Music Festival which was to take place from October 23 to 25. “We have to adhere to the protocols, as a government, we cannot encourage mass gathering activities until things are under control”, said Denise Charles, Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives.
This is the third time in 5 years that the authorities have been forced to abandon this “robust economic stimulant for the island”.
Indeed, in September 2015 and September 2017, damage caused by storm Erika and hurricane Maria throughout much of the territory had stopped the 19th and 20th edition of the largest cultural event. In 2019, a very large number of the 20 000 festival-goers came from the two French islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique…