Cayman’s beaches will be closed until 5am Friday, 17 April, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne announced Monday.
This follows the closure of the beaches throughout Monday in response to large gatherings of people there on Good Friday.
The beach closures come as Cayman records one more confirmed case of coronavirus, bringing the islands’ total cases to 54.
“The risk is far too high of a serious hazard across the Cayman Islands; on that basis, there is no room for complacency,” the commissioner said at Monday’s daily COVID-19 briefing as he explained why authorities were closing the beaches.
He said a “hard curfew” would be in effect on the beaches, meaning “a full lockdown on all public beaches”. No activities can be carried out on the public beaches or in the water off them, including walking, running, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, paddleboarding, or fishing.
The commissioner said anyone caught on the beaches between now and 5am Friday will be committing a criminal offence and will be liable to a $3,000 fine and a year in prison, under Section 49(1) of the Police Law.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said, “It is with the deepest regret that we have had to make the decision to close the beaches and access to the water,” adding that this was done because a “significant number of people” were being “absolutely reckless” or “completely blind to what is appearing on the television screens every single day” showing the ravages of COVID-19 across the world.
The 17 April date is in line with the current hard curfew regulations, which are set to expire on that date, and which are likely to be extended.
‘Containment area’ set up at George Town apartment complex
A containment area has been created at an apartment complex in George Town after a resident there, who had tested positive for coronavirus, had failed to self-isolate. That person has now been isolated in a government facility, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee said.
The doctor said that this was “probably the only instance where somebody had been given instruction [to self-isolate] and did not follow it”, adding that a risk assessment was being done at the apartment complex.
Lee said a ‘containment area’ entails a notice issued and signed by the government’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, which requires people to stay inside their dwellings while they undergo surveillance to determine the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Lee said that health officials carrying out the risk assessment would determine which residents would need to undergo isolation. “It’s a case-by-case basis,” he said, adding, “We need to support anybody being isolated.”
He said individuals or families that require self-isolation would be supported in a variety of ways, including arranging the delivery of supplies to their homes.
Lee, delivering the latest coronavirus test results at Monday’s press briefing, said the one positive case, a person who had travelled overseas and had been self-isolating since returning to Cayman, was from 44 results recently received.
So far, 580 tests have been carried out in Cayman. Of the 54 positive cases, six have recovered, Lee said.
Five of the patients remain in hospital – three at the Cayman Islands Hospital and two at Health City. One of the patients at the Cayman Islands Hospital is on a ventilator, Lee said, while the other two are stable. The two patients at Health City are asymptomatic of COVID-19 and were admitted for other health concerns.
The chief medical officer said two people who had recently returned to the Cayman Islands on an air ambulance from Florida were being isolated at the government facility.
Cayman is currently operating under a fluctuating soft and hard curfew to contain the spread of the virus. The hard curfew, from 7pm to 5am and all day Sunday, means only essential workers can leave their homes.
The police commissioner said 46 people had been warned for prosecution for being in breach of the hard curfew on Easter Sunday.
The soft curfew restricts movement during daylight hours while allowing people to visit the supermarket or pharmacy or to exercise. During soft curfew, anyone with the surname beginning A-K will only be allowed to go to the supermarket, bank or gas station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The L-Z group will be able to do the same on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
For those with double-barrelled names, the first name is the one that determines which day they can go out.
Exceptions are made for 90 minutes of exercise, which is still allowed every day except Sunday, as well as for trips to the pharmacy or medical facility.