1 new positive case as next plans for reopening announced

Hours, days for beach access to be expanded

A new series of hard- and soft-curfew rules will be implemented next month, officials announced Friday, as Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee Friday reported one new case of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands.

The single new case is asymptomatic and believed to have been community acquired. The case was detected through the country’s screening programme.

Changes to shelter-in-place, curfew orders

At Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne and Premier Alden McLaughlin announced a new set of shelter-in-place and hard-curfew orders that will reduce the restricted times on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac while allowing for more beach access. McLaughlin also outlined the next phase of economic reopening.

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“We have all sacrificed, from the eldest to the very young,” McLaughlin said. “But now there is more than just hope. There is the promise of a soon-coming day when life can go back to some real semblance of normalcy.”

Starting Monday, 1 June:

  • Hard curfew will be in place from 8pm-4:30am, 30 minutes less than the current 8pm-5am.
  • All construction and related businesses may fully operate, subject to adhering to social-distancing standards.
  • All retail and real estate businesses will be permitted to open, also subject to social-distancing standards and the mandatory wearing of masks.
  • The public can exercise in any outdoor public place, including government walking tracks.
  • Up to two members of the public can engage in any open air, non-contact sports like tennis and golf.

Starting Sunday, 7 June:

  • Hard-curfew hours will change to 10pm-4:30am.
  • Beach access will be allowed from 5:15am-9pm, with everyone permitted to access the beach on any day of the week, regardless of surname. Sunbathing, parties or picnics are not allowed on the beach at this time.
  • Fishing will be allowed any day of the week.
  • Public gatherings on Grand Cayman can now comprise up to six people. Up to 25 people can continue to gather together in Cayman Brac.
  • Up to six people can exercise together while maintaining social-distancing standards between 4:45am and 9pm.
  • In Grand Cayman, up to six people can be in a boat together for fishing or leisure purposes. If from separate households, social distancing is required.
  • In Cayman Brac, up to six people can use a boat at a time for purposes of pleasure.
  • The public still cannot congregate at Starfish Point, Rum Point, the sandbar or Stingray City.
  • In Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, restaurants and bars may serve customers on open patios or any outdoor area that forms part of the premises. No more than six customers will be allowed at a single table and, unless they come from the same household, customers must observe physical-distancing standards. Tables must be placed eight feet apart and customers are not allowed to be seated or served indoors.
  • Restaurants/bars will be allowed to serve until 9pm and there will be no service at actual counters or bars, only tables.
  • Food-delivery services are allowed until 11pm.
  • People can travel to gas stations or mini-marts on a Sunday.

These regulations will remain in place until 22 June. They can be viewed in full here.

Latest test results

Cayman now has 141 reported positive cases of the coronavirus, with 68 people recovered, 72 active cases and one death. There have been 11,139 tests conducted in Cayman, which government leaders continue to say ranks the country among the highest per capita for testing in the world.

No patients are currently admitted in the hospital for COVID-19. One person is showing symptoms, while 71 are asymptomatic.

No one diagnosed with COVID-19 since 27 April has shown any respiratory symptoms, Lee pointed out.

The chief medical officer indicated that around 15% of the construction industry has been tested as that sector returned to work this week. Thus far, six workers in that industry have returned positive results – meaning there is an infection rate of 0.5%.

Of the 673 results announced Friday, 496 were from the Health Services Authority and 177 from Doctors Hospital.

Lee said 818 people in Cayman Brac have been tested, three of whom have previously been found positive. He added that health officials expect to reach their target of testing 50% of the Brac’s population of 2,000 sometime next week.

Next airbridge flight set

Governor Martyn Roper announced the next British Airways airbridge flight between Grand Cayman and London is set for Friday, 12 June.

Cayman Airways has seats available on evacuation flights to Miami on 5 June, 26 June and 3 July.

Since the borders closed on 22 March, 25 emergency evacuation flights have departed Cayman, transporting 1,473 people out of the country and bringing 314 people back to Cayman.

“We remain very focussed on Jamaica and India as well,” Roper said of future evacuation flights.

Crime situation ‘stable’

Police Commissioner Byrne said the the curfew and shelter-in-place regulations are working well, although he said the RCIPS has received a number of reports of people promoting house parties, which he said remain off limits.

“This is not permitted under the regulations and a small number of persons have been warned for prosecution,” he said.

Byrne said speeding on the roads continues to be a problem, with 404 speeding tickets issued over the last two weeks. One motorist was clocked going as fast at 102 miles per hour.

Since 23 March, 780 people have been warned for prosecution for breaching hard- or soft-curfew regulations. Of those, 17 have been warned for prosecution more than once, including two people who have been warned on three separate occasions and one person warned four times.

New testing machine arrives

Lee said a new testing machine called GeneXpert arrived in Grand Cayman on Friday.

He explained said the machine provided a simpler, quicker technique to test for COVID-19 that uses cartridges, comparing it to how a Keurig coffee machine works with pods.

He said the machine will likely head to the Brac to assist with testing there once Health Services Authority staff are trained in its use.

Domestic helpers, ‘touch services’ still closed

McLaughlin confirmed businesses like spas, salons and barbers will not be allowed to open just yet, but indicated they could be allowed to restart operations 22 June, when the shelter-in-place provisions end.

The same situation obtains for domestic helpers and nannies, who have not been allowed to visit their respective employers’ homes during the lockdown.

“If the current trend continues, we will be able to on the 22nd [June] to release domestic helpers and nannies back into the home,” McLaughlin said.

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  1. I understand scuba diving is not allowed. That could be the hight of ignorance on the part of the government, I can swim with other people I can snorkel. I can sit at a table in a restaurant with 6 strangers. I can’t use my own equipment put it on a tank and go under the water where I will come in contact no human being, WHAT AM I MISSING. The dive industry is a 70million dollar plus industry on the island and the government is trying to kill it and has no clue why. There are international regulations now in place on how to dive in the environment of corona. DAN the International dive organization has told dive shops what to do. Why can’t the government just follow the rules and not put all these people out of work and put all the dive shops out of business