Deadly virus not a big threat to reggae – But artistes still take necessary precautions while travelling

An AP report this week showed a spike in cases of the COVID-19 (formerly coronavirus), as there are said to be 254 new deaths and a spike in virus cases of 15,152.

However, despite these figures, members of the entertainment fraternity, especially those travelling abroad for shows and tours, say the threat has not had any significant impact on their livelihood.

According to Jerome Hamilton, managing director of Headline Entertainment, China, where the outbreak is at its worst “is not a big market for us, and there are some bigger but isolated spots in Asia. So traditional reggae artistes are not yet affected.” As such, Hamilton says they have not seen any major cancelations of events.

“But it’s still early days in the overall scheme of things, so if it is contained, all is well. But I think right now, it’s a watch and see and hope for the best,” he said.

Hamilton also said there would be no new bookings in affected areas, as they continue to watch global trends carefully.

D’Angel, who is set to leave the island today, says that although her destination (New York) is not listed among the affected areas, she is still taking the necessary precautions.

“I have not got any alerts as such, but it’s a sad epidemic and we have to just be careful in terms of our travels. We still have to take precautions, so I’m going to be travelling with my mask and my gloves,” said D’Angel.

Singer Sophia Brown said the virus is “a big concern of mine”.

“It (touring) is the way we make our living, and considering we have to go in this kind of environment, it could become a big threat to our income,” she said.

Brown, scheduled to leave Jamaica in another month, says she is “not looking forward to travelling anywhere at this point in time,” and vowed “to keep away from affected areas”.

“I am not afraid to lose a pay cheque to preserve my health, even if it means that I have to return the deposit to the promoter,” she said.

Beenie Man, who is also booked for a number of shows outside of Jamaica, is aware of the dangers of COVID-19, and according to his manager, Rohan ‘Blue’ Smith, it is only natural to be concerned.

“As an entertainer, you travel and have to mingle with people. So we always have to wash our hands and sanitise … whatever precautions to minimise the risk. So it’s always a high concern,” said Smith.