The shelter-in-place regulations implemented by the Cayman Islands government have been necessary to keep the coronavirus pandemic contained. However, many local businesses continue to grapple with reduced sales, or no sales at all, as a result.
Economists and experts worldwide recognise that the virus could have a huge and lasting effect on economies, particularly when it comes to small businesses and their employees. Cayman is certainly not immune to this impact, with business owners trying to find ways to keep their companies going until things improve.
Although the news has been depressing, uplifting stories have emerged in the middle of the maelstrom, giving people hope.
In Cayman, for example, the members of a small gym community have rallied to support one another. Carl Brenton, the owner of 7 Mile Strength & Fitness, has been doing what he can to highlight members’ businesses, trying to help them stay afloat in these difficult times.
“As a small-business owner I know how real this is,” Brenton said. “We have five full-time staff that rely on membership sales to earn a living.
“We have been lucky that we could quickly adapt and shift our training to online delivery and have managed to maintain the majority of our memberships. Other businesses don’t have this luxury.”
When Brenton saw one of their long-time members and friends, Anthony George, from Brussels Sprouts restaurant, starting to struggle with decreased sales, he decided to do something about it. Using the power of social media, Brenton put out a plea to gym members that have managed to maintain their income, asking them to commit to a weekly order from George’s restaurant.
Brenton further challenged members to sponsor one weekly meal for another member of the gym community that had lost their job due to the virus. The pledges started coming in quickly, and by the end of the first day, 50 weekly meals had been pledged and another 50 sponsored. The plan is that any excess pledged meals will be donated to Meals on Wheels each week.
“[It] was my busiest day,” said George. “I was in the kitchen by myself filling all these orders that just kept coming in. I was so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and grateful that people want to help each other in this time.”
While the virus continues to wreak havoc on Cayman and the rest of the world, more stories like this one will no doubt emerge.
For example, in April Conyers donated over 80 meals to its staff members and they had the option to pass them on to someone in need, resulting in 30 employees re-gifting their meals so far. Earlier that month, the company also matched employee donations to the Cayman Food Bank and Feed Our Future charities, raising over US$22,000.
| If you are interested in committing to a weekly meal from Brussels Sprouts or to sponsor a weekly meal for someone else, email Anthony George at [email protected]