The Coronavirus crisis has crippled the entertainment industry leaving many people in limbo.
Thousands of workers have been left displaced financially since the government implemented limitations on social gatherings. However, the entertainment industry is seemingly feeling it the most.
With the closure of bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment facilities, many workers are now left in limbo. Earners who were dependent on the entertainment for their paychecks such as Djs, bartenders, cashiers, and others are left in the cold.
Since the lockdown, some promoters say they have been helping out, but cannot for much longer.
Whitfield ‘Whitty’ Henry, promoter of Uptown Mondays, says that at least 20 of his workers are now without income. He says he has been helping them as much as possible but the burden is becoming too much.
“All of them depend on it, suh now and then we have to give the workers dem a likkle funds, cause every day dem call pon mi cause nutten nah happen. Suh wi jus haffi do wa we can do fi try mek everybody happy and be alright,” Henry told eProbe.
“Almost every day mi haffi guh bank or take it out of pocket. Mi nuh have it like dat … probably another week,” he continued.
The seasoned promoter went on to express concern about what will happen to many if things don’t improve.
“How will people eat? A nuh everybody inna Jamaica have a salary enuh. A lot of the people who work with me, dem still a look forward to sumn,” said Henry.
Nightclub owner Brian ‘Ribbie’ Chung, also expressed concerns of the broader impact the pandemic will have. “People, or more so the masses who are the main supporters of nightlife, are currently not working. Whatever little people have saved up, will soon be depleted due to necessity,” he said.
Chung’s concerns were also echoed by another businessman, Kibebi Johnston, managing director of Barcode Jamaica. He said, “The impact has been tremendous. The entertainment and tourist industries have been affected the most, and where other businesses in other sectors can still function, we can’t.”
Johnston would go on to call on the government to lobby with utility companies for special breaks for customers.
“If the Government can get involved and reach out to like JPS and NWC … where they can give us some kind of holiday for payments over the next few months and don’t cut services, that would be good, because the less things these employees and contractors have to pay, it will help,” Johnston said.