Antigua and Barbuda
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Proof of vaccination could be a requirement for taking part in Carnival activities

Carnival will be making a return after two years.

By Carlena Knight

[email protected]

Revellers may have to prove their vaccination status in order to participate in Carnival activities this year, as the vaccination requirement could possibly return for the cultural event.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas made the revelation during the post-Cabinet Press Briefing on Thursday where he revealed that consideration is being made for the vaccine requirement mandate to return.

“We are thinking about it but we have not made a sufficient determination,” Nicholas said.

“I would imagine over the next week or two, we are going to have discussions in the Cabinet with some of the leaders of the mas’ troupes and fete promoters as well, because they have to see that this is part of their responsibility as well, and how we go about doing that. The game is not yet over. We are not out of the woods yet by any means with Covid,” he added.

He mentioned that although the management of the virus has been at a commendable level for the past months, residents should not become complacent as there have been instances in some international countries of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Locally, Covid-19 cases have been increasing slowly as well, having reached over 150 active cases this month. The most recent dashboard showed 161 active cases.

“Individually, there is a responsibility and the makers of these mas’ troupes will have to take some of the responsibility and we are going to have some engagement.

“I don’t know that we are going to impose any hard mandates at this time but we have to look at it and make the best decision before it becomes an ‘oh, oh, we should have known’. We do know how fast it can spread and the impact that it will have,” Nicholas stated.

The festival, which is returning after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be preceded by a number of events set to begin from late July.

The pre-Carnival events include a Band Meet Band showdown on Friday, July 22; T-shirt Mas on July 23; Car Show and celebration honouring Sir McLean “King Short Shirt” Emanuel, on July 24; and a Teen Rave on July 25.

Drue’s Day will be held on July 26.

Carnival, branded as the ‘Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival,’ gets underway on July 27 with the official opening and the Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show.

Other activities on the calendar include Melting Pot, Calypso Monarch Competition, Panorama Competition, Party Monarch, Watch Night Celebration, Emancipation Day, J’ouvert, Culture and Cuisine, Carnival Monday, and the Parade of the Bands and Last Lap on August 2.