Chamber supports curfew extension

The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement in support of government’s decision to extend the curfew restrictions and urged everyone to follow them.

Chamber president Woody Foster said the organisation had focussed on three strategic areas since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. “First, supporting the government’s containment strategy; second, alleviating the looming humanitarian crisis; and third, supporting the many business owners doing everything they can to keep their hard-working employees in jobs.”

He added, “This is not a time for our community to be divided by criticism or blame aimed at the government or anyone else. It is a time for our community to pull together and for each of us to do the right thing by our neighbours.”

The Chamber noted while it is too soon to ease the restrictions and reopen non-essential businesses, it is not too early to make a plan to do so for when the government is satisfied that the necessary pre-conditions have been met.

“The Chamber has begun to lay the groundwork to assist in doing so by engaging with our members as well as independent subject matter experts. None of this work should be mistaken by our members, or any member of the public, as a call for the easing of restrictions,” the statement said.

The business organisation named several criteria that must be met before the economy can be reopened in phases.

Referring to a Harvard Business Review article citing Nobel-prize-winning economist Paul Romer, the Chamber said these criteria include evidence that COVID-19 cases have peaked, the ability of the health system to cope with a ‘second wave’ of infections, widespread testing for both infection and antibodies, and the widespread availability of personal protective equipment, such as masks.

The Chamber said it is be too early to fully assess these factors in Cayman, and noted that only public health officials are qualified to judge whether the healthcare system is adequately resourced.

Aside from the supply of tests for COVID-19 infection, the Chamber added, none of the other conditions appear close to being met at this time.

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