Jamaica Carnival has been postponed until October amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The announcement was made by Chairman of the Tourism Ministry, Sports and Entertainment Network, Kamal Bankay a short while ago.
A press release from stakeholder, Xodus Carnival, said “the decision to postpone an event that is five weeks away is an imperative one and came after much consultation and deliberation.”
The new date for the road march is October 25, 2020, seven months away from from the previous Sunday, April 19.
“This postponement to October 2020 gives us seven clear months from the initial detection of the virus in Jamaica to provide a level of chronological distancing that shows that we are committed to protecting the citizens of Jamaica and tourists from unnecessary exposure to the pandemic COVID-19.”
The news comes just hours after Jamaica confirmed six additional cases of the novel coronavirus, two of which were community spread.
The confirmed cases brings the total to eight on the island.
According to Bankay, costumes and t-shirts purchased will be valid for the delayed staging.
“By postponing and not cancelling, we can still fulfill our commitment to the revellers to provide the best Carnival experience in the Caribbean and keep our industry from crumbling under the weight of the significant economic pressures we will face as a nation – a most delicate balancing act,” the statement said.
In the past week, all three bands, Bacchanal Jamaica, Xodus Carnival and Xaymaca International, announced that all costumes had been sold out.
Dozens of scheduled lead-up events related to Carnival in Jamaica will now have to be moved or cancelled.
Days ago, the Government said that all permits for events over the next 14 days will be revoked and that no permits will be granted as the country continues to respond to the virus threat.
Thousands of revellers from Jamaica, and abroad, and even more spectators were expected to converge on the streets of capital city, Kingston for the road parade.
*This article updated to include quotes from Xodus.