COVID vaccination regulations in place for Pride, CayMAS parades

Scores of people gathered at Palm Heights Beach on Sunday, 28 June, for the first official raising of the Pride flag in Cayman.

People taking part in the upcoming CayMAS Carnival and Pride parades will be legally obliged to prove that they have been vaccinated, under new regulations gazetted this week.

The two sets of Prevention, Control and Suppression of COVID-19 regulations, gazetted on Wednesday, 21 July, outline the vaccination requirements for participation in the events.

Under the regulations, any participant falsifying a vaccination certificate or related information, or any parade organiser who allows more than 1,000 people to take part, is liable to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for two years.

Participants must have received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the parades. The Pride parade will be held on Saturday, 31 July, while CayMAS will be on Saturday, 7 Aug.

Carnival revellers dance on the waterfront during the CayMAS parade held in May 2018. Anyone taking part in this year’s parade is required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Noel Cayasso-Smith, founder and president of Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, which organised the Pride Parade scheduled for Saturday, 31 July, said he had been expecting the regulations to be implemented, and therefore the organisers had already put a process in place.

“We approached the Ministry of Health [earlier]… Anyone who wanted to participate in the parade would have to send an email with their information to [email protected] so they could get a registration number. Once registered, we would send that information to the Health Services Authority to pre-approve them and show they have been vaccinated,” he said.

Although, under current rules, a maximum of 1,000 people are allowed to take part in parades, the LGBTQ Foundation capped the number for the Pride parade at 600, and those places have already been filled, Cayasso-Smith said.

On the morning of the parade, HSA staff will be at the parade’s registration area on Seven Mile Public Beach from 8:30am. There, participants will be asked to show their ID and their vaccination certificates, and they will be given a wristband which they will need to wear to take part in the parade, which begins at 2pm.

Cayasso-Smith encouraged people to show up early, get their wristbands, go back home and then return for the beginning of the parade.

As only vaccinated people can take part, no one under 12 can participate.

Under the regulations, unvaccinated spectators can gather along the roadside to cheer on the parades, but cannot physically interact with the participants.

Cayasso-Smith said marshals would be accompanying the parade to ensure that areas are roped off to ensure participants do not mingle with spectators.

Those attending the parties, before and after the Pride parade, are not required to be vaccinated, although those planning to take part in the parade who attend the pre-party are being asked to bring along their vaccination cards so they can collecting their goodie bags and T-shirts “to make sure all the information collected is correct to avoid any hold up of the processing”.

The free pre-party will be held at Bevvy and the Lazy Lizard, at the former Margaritaville resort on West Bay Road, on Friday, 30 July, and a post-party will be held on the night of the 31 July parade at Palm Heights.

Under the current regulations, a maximum of 1,000 people can attend outdoor gatherings, such as these parties.

The Compass reached out to CayMAS organiser Craig Frederick, who said, “We’re waiting for official documentation before we can make a statement”.

See the Caymas and Gay Pride vaccination regulations here.

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