Local promoters have decried the timing of the latest regulations imposed by government meant to nip the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, the director of health services gazetted new regulations amidst surging COVID-19 cases following the discovery of a new variant, Omicron.
In an interview BEPA president, Gilbert Seagile said they have no problems with the new regulations but are worried by the timing and lack of proper consultation by government. “We are simply arguing that the timing is not right because organisers are already past the planning stage for their events. It shows lack of strategic plan, and this will make implementation difficult. We needed time to prepare for these changes. They can be done but it is not going to be easy as we needed time to finalise the logistics,” said Seagile.
With a number of mass gathering events such as music festivals and picnics set to take place across the country, Seagile also said the new regulations could have a negative impact on the industry. Festivals such as The People’s Festival headlined by Makhadzi in Maun, Born & Raised in Serowe, Home Coming Concert in Mahalapye, Gaabo Motho and O Foo Ke Fano are some of the events, which usually attract multitudes. He said already many people have bought tickets for the upcoming entertainment events, and the requirement of passports could compromises attendance. However, he maintained that promoters are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that there is compliance with the regulations as per government's requirement. Some of the requirements of mass gathering under the regulations include keeping attendance register and taking of body temperatures of all attendants (those with temperatures of 37.4 degrees Celcius and above are not allowed).
Event hosts are required to provide hand sanitisation station for every 50 people and ensure that every person attending the event observes social distance of 1.5m apart from each other. The new regulations also require that for indoor events, there should be regular breaks of 30 minutes every two hours to allow for ventilation and disinfection of the premises. Hosts are also required to have a designated person for every 50 people to ensure adherence to protocols. In the event that the host or convener fails to adhere to the regulations his or her permit to hold such could be revoked and that person could be liable to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.