CayMAS will be heading for the road on Saturday, 7 Aug., CayMAS Director Craig Frederick confirmed.
He said the CayMAS Carnival has been granted special permission from government and agreed to its stipulated terms, after weeks of negotiations, to be able to hold its street parade in August.
“CayMAS Carnival is happening for 2021 and when I say ‘carnival’ I am talking about the full product,” Frederick said Thursday, 27 May, when he sat down with the Cayman Compass to discuss plans for the popular event.
In recently published regulations, government removed the pre-arrival PCR testing requirement for returning travellers who received the full COVID-19 vaccination at the Health Services Authority.
The regulations, which continue until 15 July, maintain a ban on parades, including carnival. Any exception to that ban requires Cabinet approval via amended legislation.
Frederick said he obtained that approval through Cabinet last week and his team will be resubmitting applications for road closures for the new dates.
“We have finally gotten confirmation from the government that we can proceed to do the world’s first major carnival on the road [since February 2020 in Trinidad] with people without masks, without social distancing… We are so happy to be in a position we’re in now,” he said.
He said the original plan was to hold the event over the 5 July Constitution Day long weekend.
Going forward, Frederick said the parade will be held on the Constitution Day weekend, ending the clash of dates with Batabano Bracannal events on Discovery Day weekend.
Bryan: Vaccination required for participation
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, speaking on Radio Cayman Monday morning, confirmed permission saying government has issued a conditional letter to allow the parade.
“We would allow them to have the parade on some conditions… that all the participants have to prove that they have been vaccinated, as well as they [CayMAS] have to promote a vaccination drive among their peers. We think this is a way we can encourage persons to take up the vaccines and, at the same time, reward the community for playing their part in this,” Bryan said on the ‘For the Record’ talk show.
The minister acknowledged that the COVID-19 restrictions have been difficult for all Caymanians and, in particular, young people who need outlets for their energy and to get rid of steam, which haven’t been possible since last year.
“So it is win win. It give us an opportunity to see where we are at and how safe we are,” he added.
Bryan said government has looked at CayMAS safety protocols and “we feel that once everybody is vaccinated, and that goes from the marshals to drivers to the deejays to those who are in feathered costumes… once they are all vaccinated at least 14 days from the parade then things should go smoothly.”
The next step is for Cabinet to issue the official approval documents.
Frederick said CayMAS will have a full lineup of events from Wednesday, 4 Aug. straight through to Sunday on carnival weekend.
“We’ll begin with the parade happening on Saturday afternoon… and no mask, no social distancing and we on the road,” he said.
Frederick encouraged those interested in the street parade to get inoculated.
“[E]veryone including staff that wants to participate in CayMAS 2021 must be vaccinated. So it’s us helping the government with the vaccination drive by using CayMAS to [educate] people [on] the importance of being vaccinated for the future opening of Cayman. [A]lso for us to get back to some new normalcy, not just the financial industry and the civil service, but those that depend on being able to business travel like myself… being able to get back to tourism… in a safe way,” he said.
Swanky International, one of the main bands in the CayMAS line-up, issued a notice to its members announcing the new date for the street parade, whose route will take revellers from Eden Rock to Seven Mile Public Beach.
“To participate in CayMAS on the road, everyone must be fully vaccinated at least two (2) weeks prior to the Road March date. That means you must have taken your second dose of the vaccine on or before 24 July 2021,” the notice stated.
It added that proof of vaccination will be required for participation.
“The authorities will be monitoring us on the road and enforcing the terms and conditions of our Road March approval. Actions may be taken against those who are not in compliance with the rules that have been set,” the notice warned.