Gov’t unveils plans to continue easing restrictions

As of 21 June, hard curfew and alphabet system end, scuba diving allowed

Premier Alden McLaughlin on Wednesday outlined a series of plans to ease restrictions related to Cayman’s COVID-19 suppression measures.

The plans come as Cayman moves into Level 2 (minimal suppression), which will be unrolled on three key dates: 21 June, 5 July and 19 July. Here are the plans by date:

21 June

These changes to the current regulations come into place as of 4:30am on Sunday, 21 June:

  • Hard curfew on Grand Cayman will come to an end.
  • Those in Grand Cayman no longer subject to shelter-in-place restrictions.
  • The ‘alphabet day’ system will no longer be used.
  • People remain required to maintain social-distancing protocols and wear masks indoors in public places where they can’t social distance.
  • There is no longer a prohibition on people visiting others’ homes
  • Domestic helpers and caregivers can return to work.
  • Up to 25 people can now meet or gather in Grand Cayman; that number stays at 25 in Cayman Brac. Social-distancing requirements continue to apply. There are no restrictions on gatherings in Little Cayman.
  • All festive ceremonies (such as carnivals, parties, dances and concerts) will continue to be banned in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, regardless of the number of people involved.
  • Most establishments – including businesses, offices, churches, theatres, beauty salons, barbers, salons and spas, as well as medical and dental offices, will be able to fully operate. They must, however, observe social-distancing protocols and ensure masks are worn. These establishments are not subject to the 25-person-maximum restrictions.
  • Restaurants and bars will continue to be able to serve patrons on a patio or other outdoor area which forms a part of the premises. New regulations require each table remain at least eight feet apart, but there no longer will be limitations on how many people can sit together. However, those at a table must maintain six-feet separation.
  • In bars and restaurants, seating or service at an indoor counter or bar remains prohibited.
  • Restaurants and bars can operate within the hours stipulated in their licences.
  • Karaoke and dancing are still not permitted at this stage.
  • Up to 25 guests are allowed at a wedding.
  • Up to 25 guests are allowed at funerals.
  • People can now exercise at any time while keeping social distancing.
  • Beach restrictions also fall away, save for adherence to social-distancing and hygiene protocols, as well as the regulations regarding public gatherings.
  • Pools and hot tubs can be used by people of different households.
  • Scuba diving will be allowed. However, customers cannot rent scuba or snorkel equipment other than air tanks.
  • In Grand Cayman, boats can now be used for any purpose, but no more than 10 people are allowed onboard.
  • In Grand Cayman, boats are still not allowed to travel for pleasure to the Sister Islands.
  • Those on separate boats can gather together as long as the number of people between the boats does not exceed 10.
  • The sandbar, Stingray City, Rum Point and Starfish Point are still off limits.
  • Inter-island travel by boat remains prohibited, apart from freight.
  • Those in Grand Cayman wanting to travel to the Sister Islands by air can do so subject to the following: notify the medical officer of health, remain at a place of isolation for 14 days prior to travel, and receive a negative test result before travelling.
  • Staycations are permitted.

5 July

The following restrictions come into place 5 July and remain until 19 July:

  • All education institutions and facilities – including camps, bible schools and preschools – can commence activities, including sports and social events. No contact sports are allowed at this stage.
  • Restaurants and bars will be able to offer both indoor and outdoor services, under the following restrictions: six feet between tables; the distance between those at a table decreases from six to three feet, with no limits on how many patrons are allowed to sit together. Front-of-house staff must continue to wear masks/cloth face coverings.
  • In Grand Cayman, exercise in strata and public gyms is permitted.
  • Those wishing to travel from Grand Cayman to the Sister Islands may do so subject to the following: notify medical officer of health of proposed travel and be tested for COVID-19. On receipt of negative result, individual must be transported directly to airport for flight.

19 July

The following restrictions come into place 19 July and remain until 2 Aug.:

  • Dancing and karaoke at bars and restaurants will be allowed.
  • Night clubs can resume operation.
  • Contact sports will be permitted.
  • No more restrictions limiting the number of people gathering on a boat(s) to 10.
  • Restrictions and prohibition of boats and people accessing the sandbar, Stingray City, Starfish Point and Rum Point will also fall away.

While the staged easing of restrictions is welcome news to many, McLaughlin said there’s still plenty of work to do.

“How do we re-open the border?” he asked, while reiterating 1 Sept. remains the target date to allow visitors to enter Cayman. “We are far from having won the victory.”

No new cases

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Cayman Islands, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee said during Wednesday’s government press conference.

The total number of positives in Cayman remains at 193; 60 of those are considered active cases, with 58 people asymptomatic. Of those who have tested positive, 132 have fully recovered. The number of people tested in Cayman now stands at 18,605.

One person remains hospitalised with symptoms relating to COVID-19 and the patient is considered in stable condition, according to Lee.

Date confirmed for evacuation flight to India

Governor Martyn Roper confirmed an evacuation flight for Indian citizens is scheduled for 3 July.

The route will take passengers to Chennai via British Airways to London, where they will switch to a Qatar Airways flight to India, after issues with BA emerged over the use of personal protective equipment by the flight crew.

“This has not been an easy flight to arrange,” said Roper. The Compass reported earlier this week that a dispute between British Airways and the Indian government over PPE protocols created delays in arranging the flight.

Details on how to book a seat on the flight will be available “soon”, Roper said.

Roper also said his office has restarted negotiations with the Nicaraguan government to organise a repatriation flight.

Dexamethasone to be considered in Cayman

A steroid, dexamethasone, is available in the Cayman Islands and can be considered to treat COVID-19 locally, according to Lee.

Scientists at the University of Oxford said on Tuesday that the inexpensive and commonly available drug reduced deaths in patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

“I would imagine there shouldn’t be a supply issue,” Lee said.

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