Ghost Town: A portrait of life on lockdown

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There was an eerie stillness to the usually bustling George Town waterfront this week.

The throngs of cruise ship tourists in swim-wear and souvenir t-shirts were absent and the services of Cayman’s famous white-gloved dancing policemen were not required at the empty zebra crossings.

Security guards wandered through the alleyways of the Bayshore Mall and Kirk Gallery, past shuttered store fronts and the stacked tables of vacant restaurants. At the water’s edge a thatch-roofed ice cream and snack bar advertised a new delivery service.

Stores and snack bars on the waterfront were shuttered.

Dive buoys and cruise ship moorings bobbed on the ocean, which had recovered a healthy hue in the absence of constant boat traffic. The aquamarine water tapered off towards the horizon in progressively deeper shades of blue.

Along West Bay Road it was a similar story. A handful of businesses still maintained a skeleton presence amid the empty hotels and eateries.

The normally packed car park of World’s Gym was free of traffic. A now familiar printed sign on the glass window informed customers that the fitness centre was closed by government order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The only exceptions were the supermarkets, where customers lined up in long, evenly spaced rows, waiting to be permitted access amid new rules restricting the number of customers in store at any one time.

At Camana Bay, a truck cleared tables and chairs from the cafes and restaurants. The delighted squeals of children running through the water fountains had fallen silent, the fountains themselves turned off for the time being.

At Starbucks on Monday, customers were being permitted to enter in groups of one or two. The seating had been removed and takeout was the only option.

Books and Books and a handful of other shops remained open but there were few customers in sight. Even those stores could be required to close soon as tougher measures come into place.

On the roads, there were still plenty of cars, but the bumper-to-bumper traffic that has caused such concern in recent times was nowhere to be seen.

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