The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for public sheltering.

Protocols such as social-distancing requirements will limit the number of people who can gather inside shelters, reducing overall capacity.

In his annual hurricane message in early June, Premier Alden McLaughlin urged residents to consider alternative options for sheltering.

“Whilst shelters are available if needed in the event of a storm, given the shortage of shelter space and the need for social distancing, we ask that you also consider any other sheltering options that may be available to you,” he said.

He suggested residents should seek alternate shelter such as going to “strong, elevated structures of friends or family members, or to resilient office buildings, if those options
are available”.

If your home is hurricane-proof and is in a safe location, it is the best place to ride out a storm.

However, if you have no alternative, several buildings in each district in Cayman are designated as public shelters in the event of a storm.

Familiarise yourself with shelters nearest to your home and the best routes to get there. In the event of an evacuation, you’ll need to get to the shelter as quickly as possible.

Be aware that some shelters double as emergency medical centres, so if you have a potential or existing medical issue, choose a shelter that will have medical staff based there.

There are two pet-friendly shelters: John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School.
Pets, like people, are allocated space on a first-come, first-served basis. They are not allowed to roam free.

Make sure to pack anything you absolutely need, such as medications, important documents and money for post-hurricane expenses.

Emergency shelter locations

There are 15 designated public shelters in Grand Cayman and 4 in the Sister Islands.

George Town

John Gray High School – Gymnasium
Pet friendly

George Town Primary School Assembly Hall

University College of the Cayman Islands Hall

Red Cross Building

Prospect Primary School (EMC)

West Bay

Sir John A. Cumber Primary School Assembly Hall (EMC)

Sir John A. Cumber Primary School (part classrooms)

John Gray Memorial Church Hall

East End

William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre (EMC)

Gun Bay Community Hall

North Side

Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre (EMC)

Clifton Hunter High School – Gymnasium, Frank Sound (EMC)
Pet friendly

Bodden Town

Bodden Town Primary School Multi-purpose Hall (EMC)

Breakers Community Hall

Savannah Primary School Assembly Hall (EMC)

Sister Islands

Cayman Brac

Aston Rutty Centre (EMC)

West End Primary School

Multi-purpose Hall (Sports Complex)

Little Cayman

Public Works Department Building (EMC)
*EMC = Emergency Medical Centre

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.