Multiple grocery stores in Grand Cayman are rationing their cleaning and hand sanitising products because of the recent coronavirus outbreak. Government has also waived duty on surgical masks and hand sanitisers through to the end of 2020.

Though there have been no cases in the Cayman Islands, demand for masks and disinfectants, which can help prevent the spread of the virus, has skyrocketed.

In demand: An empty shelf that had contained Lysol disinfectant spray at Foster’s sister store, Priced Right, on Monday. Foster’s is limiting sale of its disinfectant products to two per customer. – Photo: Jewel Levy

Foster’s has taken measures to ration its cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising products. Its stores are limiting customers to only two disinfecting products.

“In order to ensure products are available for as many of our customers as possible, Foster’s is limiting the purchase of specific disinfectant products to two per customer, per product.

“For example, two Clorox Lemon Disinfecting Wipes and two Equaline hand sanitizers could be purchased at the same time. The products limited to two per customer are clearly marked on shelves,” Foster’s stated on its web page.

Cost U Less published this photograph of a new supply of Lysol that arrived at its store Friday morning.

Another grocery store that is limiting such products to two items per customers is Cost U Less. Mary Pandazedes, store manager of Cost U Less, said that the four items being rationed are hydrogen peroxide, Lysol disinfectant spray, Kleenex facial tissue, and Kirkland brand bath tissue.

“When we get Clorox disinfectant wipes and Soft Soap Hand Soap, we will be rationing those as well,” Pandazedes said.

She said the store is also out of hand sanitiser.

Kirk Market in Grand Cayman is also out of hand sanitiser. It is limiting customers to three individual items.

Although Hurley’s Supermarket is out of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitiser, it has no restrictions on the amount of cleaning and disinfecting products a customer can buy.

Premier Alden McLaughlin announces import duty waivers on surgical masks and gloves and hand sanitisers, at the Royal Fidelity Cayman Economic Outlook conference on Friday. – Photo: Michael Klein

Duty waivers

The government is going to immediately waive all customs duties on hand sanitisers, protective facial masks and surgical gloves until the end of this year to help prevent the spreading of COVID-19 infections. Making the announcement at the Royal Fidelity Cayman Economic Outlook conference on Friday, Premier Alden McLaughlin encouraged retailers to pass on the savings to consumers.

While there not any confirmed COVID-19 infections in Cayman, the premier said “clearly there is considerable risk” that the islands will see coronavirus cases locally.

However, he added, health officials have ramped up preparations and provided timely information to government and the public on how to minimise that risk.

McLaughlin said Cayman is a very open society that welcomes 2.4 million visitors per year and many residents are travelling overseas. “We cannot lock ourselves away from the world”, he said, but “need to be pragmatic”.

Government announced earlier this week that it would restrict all but absolutely necessary travel by public servants, including the Cabinet. On Friday, the premier called on the public and the business community to do the same.

Additional reporting by Michael Klein.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now