Tourism Association calls for review of Sunday dancing, music restrictions

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association is calling on government to review 40-year-old legislation that prohibits restaurants and bars from having dancing and live music in bars on Sundays – a restriction that put a damper on parties last New Year’s Eve since that holiday fell on a Sunday.

“Following the grievance and disappointment of some within the industry and community at large, arising from restrictions to music and dancing on the 2017 New Year’s Eve which fell on a Sunday, the Tourism Association is calling for a review and revision to the respective laws to ensure that such situations are avoided in future,” the Tourism Association said. “The Association also advocates the elimination of any ambiguities particularly regarding the general playing of music and liquor sales on Sundays.”

The Tourism Association stated that it met with government last week to discuss the matter.

At the meeting, Tourism Association directors emphasized that the laws must not unreasonably restrict the industry’s ability to deliver on the service and entertainment expectations of visitors to the territory. At the same time, everyone at the meeting agreed on the necessity to strike a balance between the needs of commerce and the values of the wider community, the Tourism Association stated.

Commerce Minister Joey Hew was at the meeting, and was receptive to the Tourism Association’s concerns, according to the announcement.

“The government recognizes the importance of tourism to the country and noted too that other associations will be consulted prior to any draft revisions which ultimately will be open to further public consultation,” the Tourism Association added.

Before Dec. 31, 2017, the last time New Year’s Eve fell on a Sunday was in 2006. Therefore, many restaurants, bars and hotels were taken off guard last year when government confirmed that the ban would remain in place – which was not until after the Cayman Compass reported on the issue on Dec. 19.

Dozens of establishments had to cancel their party plans less than two weeks before the holiday, foregoing what is usually one of their most lucrative nights of the year.

At midnight, parties resumed, and establishments took advantage of a blanket extension granted by the liquor board to allow them to remain open until 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. The next time New Year’s Eve will fall on a Sunday is in 2023.

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