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Adapted from World Health Organisation, 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and the virus has now spread to many countries and territories. While a lot is still unknown about the virus that causes COVID-19, we do know that it is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing) Individuals can also be infected from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). While COVID-19 continues to spread it is important that communities take action to prevent further transmission, reduce the impacts of the outbreak and support control measures.

What is COVID-19? 

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’ The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.


How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it. Who is most at risk?  We are learning more about how COVID-19 affects people every day.  Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.  As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there are relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children. This is a new virus and we need to learn more about how it affects children. The virus can be fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

There is no currently available vaccine for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and getting early care from a healthcare provider can make the disease less dangerous. There are several clinical trials that are being conducted to evaluate potential therapeutics for COVID-19.

How can the spread of COVID-19 be slowed down or prevented?

As with other respiratory infections like the flu or the common cold, public health measures are critical to slow the spread of illnesses. Public health measures are everyday preventive actions that include:

✓ staying home when sick;

✓ covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately;

✓ washing hands often with soap and water; and

✓ cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.


As we learn more about COVID-19 public health officials may recommend additional actions.

Dear Music and Entertainment Community,

As we come together as a community during the COVID-19 pandemic, we commit to keeping YOU informed of all support programmes as they are rolled out. Income for the entire industry is in jeopardy and we continue to keep abreast of all government and private sector support programmes to keep you in the know.


Please see the latest information below from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES) SUPPORT PROGRAMME. We continue to implore you to remain safe.


  • The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA)


The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES) is offering an extension of the COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees, CARE, specifically for culture, arts and entertainment industry.


Who can access the MCGES Grants?


MCGES is providing monies under COVID-19 Support programme designed specifically for registered members of the sector.


E- Register if you are in:

  • Music
  • Film, Animation and Digital Media
  • Event Promotion and Production
  • Theatre
  • Dance
  • Visual Art
  • Poetry/Spoken Word
  • Book industry/publishing




The categories of benefit:

Jamaica Creative: Small, one-off grants of $15,000 to $50,000 for independent, professional artistes, towards the purchase, hire or upgrade of technology and equipment. This can enable development and sharing of new and existing work via digital and virtual platforms.


Sustainable Industry: Small, one-off response grants of $50,000 to $100,000 to assist independent, professional associations, to undertake professional development, support capacity building or continue to support members’ creative practice in whatever form that may take.


Cultural Community: Grants of up to $250,000 for community-based arts and cultural MSMEs, able to experiment with co-working arrangements and explore new innovative ways to work together, create and develop work and engage with audiences.


Organisations: Other entities currently offering grants to the sector related to COVID-19 must show impact in order to qualify for funds to on-grant.


Business Development: A $500,000 grant to the Jamaica Business Development Corporation to enable online support for business development and other capacity building services offered by the JBDC as they provide services to the creative sectors.


Registration is a basic requirement for eligibility consideration.  Not all grant applications will be successful. 


The Ministry recommends that applicants should also:


  • Register with an established and recognised industry association such as JARIA
  • Consider the Ministry Of Finance COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) grants as an option for those who do not qualify
  • Access and sign up now for NIS, NHT and other government programmes


Apply at

Dear Music Family,

The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association remains committed to playing our part in the welfare of the music and entertainment community. We like everyone else, have been carefully monitoring the news to be abreast of developments across the world, paying attention to the impact COVID-19 has been having on the music community, in particular. We are aware of the worldwide cancellation of concerts and tours and the general switch to engaging audiences online.

We are also very conscious of the fears you may be experiencing and welcome you to trust us to assist as best as we can to facilitate access to financial and psychological support where needed. Our Chairman, Mr Ewan Simpson has been engaged in meetings with other music stakeholders and the government of Jamaica to address some of the issues that are developing in the industry towards finding solutions or alternatives for you to function.

We would like your assistance in offering observations and ideas about the music sector so we can better identify best practices on how we will deal with this extraordinary situation moving forward. (see survey)

The COVID -19 pandemic necessitates numerous changes to our norm but is also an opportunity for the music community to unite and capitalise on the tremendous power of reggae music to impact lives positively across the world. Music has always been a unifying force and has been used to motivate and encourage positive movements in almost every situation.

The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association extends a very special invitation to individuals in the music community to become a member of the association as together we are stronger. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent loss of income, we have reduced our membership fees for the period of April 20 to May 20, 2020 to J$1,000.


[insert link to form and banking information here]

We encourage you to take advantage of this significantly reduced fees as membership allows you the benefit of a connecting to a strong network of professionals in every area of the music industry.

Other benefits include discount offerings in a wide variety of institutions from entertainment to insurance and access to group health insurance plans. JaRIA also prepare verification letters and recommendations for our members to embassies and international event promoters for our members as requested. Whether or not you decide to join the organisation today, you are family and encourage you to continue monitoring all our platforms for information as we play our part in protecting this remarkable sector we are all a part of.

These are unprecedented times and now more than ever, we must connect with each other and use this as an opportunity to use music to inspire change and impact lives.


One Love

From the Board of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA)

About JaRIA

Reggae Month is an annual celebration of reggae music for the entire month of February. Organised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) since 2009.

Tags: #ReggaeMonth #JaRIA #RM2020

Organization Overview:

JaRIA is an independent, non-aligned, non-governmental, non-profit organization through which all stakeholders in the music industry can continuously collaborate with each other, as one, united, independent collective interest.


To represent the interests of our members, foster their economic and professional growth while contributing to the development of Jamaica and Jamaica’s music industry.

Key Objectives:

To unite and further the common interests of all individuals, institutions, organisations and firms directly and indirectly involved in music and the music industry in Jamaica.
To promote and provide opportunities for the continued development of Members by facilitating access to networking, education, training and capacity building.
To facilitate access to information about all possible financial support and opportunities available within the public and private sectors locally and overseas for Members.
To provide a forum for Members to discuss industry concerns and opportunities and, where relevant, to lobby The Jamaican government and its agencies to protect and preserve the industry and its members.
To canvas and lobby international organisations, agencies and foreign governments in collaborative efforts.
To reposition Jamaica as the centre of the global Reggae movement and culture.
To commence the complex process of repatriating our musical birthright and patrimony.
To play a lead role in the annual planning and organising of reggae month, including its program and activities.
To be an exemplary global music community for broadly increasing the economic, social and cultural wealth of Jamaica and JARIA’s members in particular.

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