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Gombeys given go-ahead to dance on New Year’s Day

The Gombeys missed out on traditional Boxing Day performances but will be out for New Year’s Day, albeit with special guidelines (File photgraph)

Gombeys will perform across the island on New Year’s Day – but with Covid-19 restrictions, it was announced tonight.

A government spokeswoman said that Gombey troupes would not stage “large performances in public places” and would ditch marches on the roads for “short, physically distanced pop-up” appearances in small neighbourhoods.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Premier, said: “We were very pleased to receive a proposal from Bermuda’s Gombey troupes suggesting how best to accomplish what we’re all wanting – the ability to enjoy this important part of our culture in a way that is safe in the midst of this pandemic.

“We had a meeting with representatives from all five active Gombey troupes as well as the relevant government ministries of Youth, Culture and Sport, National Security and Health along with the Bermuda Police Service to fine-tune the details in a way that works for all parties.”

Troupes will be able to perform between noon and 10pm on Friday in groups of no more than ten.

Spectators will have to remain 12ft from the performers, wear masks, and use social distancing.

The spokeswoman said the rules would be enforced by marshals organised by the troupes, and security staff provided by the Government.

She added: “If the public does not adhere to these guidelines, the troupes have committed to immediately stop their performance so any crowd will disperse.

“The troupes will be moving into and out of the neighbourhoods in vehicles, rather than by foot to discourage any spectators from following.”

Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, commended the troupes involved in the discussions, including Gombey Evolution, Gombey Warriors, H&H Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys and the Warwick Gombey Troupe.

Dr Peets added: “This has been a difficult year for us all, and cultural practices such as Gombey performances on New Year’s Day are vital to collectively uplifting our spirits as a community.

“I am grateful to the troupes for helping to prove that there are ways, even given the restrictions around gatherings, to keep our traditions intact.”

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Published December 29, 2020 at 6:57 pm (Updated December 29, 2020 at 10:26 pm)

Gombeys given go-ahead to dance on New Year’s Day

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