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4/20 Hookah Lounge ordered closed for breaches

Published:Friday | September 25, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Michael Frater
Michael Frater
Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle

The 4/20 Hookah Lounge Jamaica, located at the Manor Park Plaza in St Andrew, has been ordered closed for 14 days by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie for reportedly breaching regulations in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus locally.

Two employees, whose identities were not disclosed, were also arrested and charged by police on Sunday for breaches of the curfew order, the local government ministry said in a press release yesterday.

McKenzie said that during the period of the closure, 4/20 Hookah Lounge, for which Companies Office of Jamaica records show Michael Frater and Chris Gayle as directors, “will be required to obtain the necessary permits, including certification from the Jamaica Fire Brigade, to support their operations”.

Attempts to contact Frater for comment were unsuccessful as several calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

McKenzie said that other establishments were on the Government’s radar and warned that they, too, would face similar consequences.

“We have further learnt that there are nightclubs operating under the guise of restaurants and lounges where the prescribed guidelines are being flouted,” the minister said, adding, “The names of these entities have been forwarded to the Jamaica Constabulary Force for further investigations.”

Nightclubs have not been given the green light to resume operations after being ordered closed months ago as part of lounges, and restaurants were given the all-clear.

Jamaica registered 5,588 COVID-19 cases up to Wednesday since the virus surfaced locally in March, according to data released yesterday. Some 3,939 of those cases were said to be active. The island has also seen 77 fatalities.

McKenzie also announced that an enforcement team had been created to ensure that entities for which the ministry is responsible adhere to the provisions of the orders under the Disaster Risk Management Act. The team – which comprises personnel from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, the Social Development Commission, and the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation – has started to work in the Kingston Metropolitan Area.

“This new initiative will not replace the police. It is intended to complement the efforts of the constabulary, which is already heavily involved in this new COVID-19 dimension of policing, as well as performing its normal duties,” McKenzie said.

“The Government is determined to do everything possible to manage the pandemic in a way that ensures that the new normal has a space for everyone to thrive. This is exactly why we need full compliance with all protocols, so that public health and economic recovery can co-exist, to the benefit of our citizens.”