Gov’t mandates masks indoors

With no mention at press conference, gov't publishes regulations on masks, public transport, sporting events and scuba gear rental.

The Cayman Islands government Thursday evening published regulations that include mask mandates, restrictions on scuba gear rental and public gatherings. Many of the regulations were not discussed or announced by lawmakers during a nearly two-hour COVID-19 press conference earlier in the day.

The regulations, which can be found here, are in force until 22 Nov. Here are some of the included provisions.

Masks required in public, including schools

The mask or ‘face covering’ mandate applies to those over 5 years old who are indoors in a public place, including educational institutions, and are unable to maintain 6 feet from every other person.

Those who refuse to wear a mask or face covering because of a medical condition will not be required to produce documentation to verify the condition, according to the regulations.

Exemptions listed in the regulations also include those sitting or eating, without talking, at a person’s desk at the person’s place of employment, or at the person’s desk or table at an educational institution, or for those indoors at a bar or restaurant sitting at a table.

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The regulations also state that business owners may deny entry to customers who refuse to wear masks for non-medical reasons.

Public Transport

All riders on public transport – taxi or omnibus – must wear masks while in the vehicle.

Scuba diving and snorkelling

Those renting any shared scuba or snorkelling equipment must register with the Department of Environmental Health in order to assist with monitoring and compliance, according to the regulations.

The vendor must ensure equipment is cleaned daily using an agent approved for use against COVID-19, under regulation 15.

The vendor also shall not rent the same shared scuba equipment to another customer until three days have elapsed.

The regulation does not apply to dive tanks.

Prohibition on use of hookah, shisha pipes or water pipes

Business owners are not allowed to use or permit the use of hookah, shisha pipes or water pipes at their place of business.

Public gatherings

Government formalised a previous announcement limiting gatherings to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.

Weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals are subject to the same gathering restrictions.  However, the total number of persons gathering for these activities does not include the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses, marriage officer, parties to the intended civil partnership, official witnesses, civil partnership officer, six pallbearers, an officiant and essential mortuary staff.

  • If the public place has indoor and outdoor areas, no more than 250 people will be permitted to gather in total, with never more than 100 persons gathered in an indoor area.
  • Exemptions to the above rule include: establishments, institutions, businesses, organisations and offices, including churches, cinemas and theatres which can accommodate more than 100 persons. However, these places must restrict the number of customers or congregants in a church so all attendees are able to distance themselves at least 6 feet apart from one another unless they are from the same household.
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained in all public places unless persons are from the same household. Additional measures, including relating to the use of personal protective equipment, may also be required at quarantine facilities, healthcare facilities, residential home care facilities, and prisons and places of detention.
  • Parades, carnivals and/or processions may not be held unless permitted by regulations.

Restriction on visitation to a health care facility

Those wishing to visit a health care facility shall “comply with the directions” of the manager of the facility and may not visit a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19 unless given permission from the medical officer of health.

The regulation does not apply to those who are required to visit the facility.

Restriction on visitation to a residential home care facility or detention centre

Those wishing to visit a residential home care facility or a detention centre must take a PCR test and return a negative result within three days of the intended visit.

The regulation does not apply to those who are required to visit the facility.

Restriction on visitation to a place or a facility of quarantine or isolation

The new regulations also address those in quarantine or isolation, or people seeking to visit those in quarantine or isolation, stating that it is illegal for those in quarantine or isolation to have visitors, save for certain exclusions for those living in multi-dwelling units and those performing delivery services.

In addition, the regulations address the legality of those in quarantine or isolation passing items to areas or people outside the quarantine or isolation facility.

Exercise and sporting activities

Organisers of sporting events shall not permit more than 250 spectators to gather in an outdoor area, and each spectator must maintain a distance of 6 feet from every other person.

Where the sporting event takes place in a gym, fitness centre or indoor area, the owner of the gym shall not permit more than 50% of the legal capacity at any time in the gym, fitness centre or other fitness area, including employees, patrons, participants and spectators.

The facility owner is also not permitted to allow a person other than an employee to enter the gym, fitness centre or other indoor fitness area where that person has not, at least “fourteen days prior to the date of the sporting activity completed an approved vaccine course, proof of which must be submitted in the form of a vaccination certificate; or does not present the owner or operator with a medical certificate which shows that the person had a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test of a sample from the upper airways, or a negative result of an approved test, no more than 48 hours prior to the date of the sporting activity and which specifies the name and address of the approved laboratory where the test was performed; (ii) each person in the gym, fitness centre or other indoor fitness area shall maintain a distance of six feet from every other person, except for those living in the same household.”

Any breach under the regulations will be subject to a $10,000 fine or two years imprisonment or both.

Government press conference on COVID-19 for Thursday, 23 Sept.

Government press conference on COVID-19 for Thursday, 23 Sept. Join us live for a government press conference on COVID-19, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Cayman Compass reporter Andrel Harris will be reporting from the press conference while Reshma Ragoonath will be providing some background information and summary before and after it begins.

Posted by Cayman Compass on Thursday, September 23, 2021

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Where is the mandate for all care/health workers/ taxi drivers/ teachers and Govt to be vaccinated. ?? This is the way forward as usa/uk/ EU are mandating.
    The world is opening up .we are closing down. There is a mask shortage and everyone should be supplied with them free as it is now a legal requirement. This Govt is ignoring the majority of voters and their livelyhoods. Shame on you.

  2. 10,000 negative tests, high percentage of vaccinations, confirmation from medical community that they are well prepared for outbreaks and any serious cases yet we go backwards?

    Time this governor grew a pair and gave this government a political slap in the chops and tells them to stop being scared of its own shadow.

    I’d bet my last dollar that if there is one half serious case – and there will be – these unqualified cretins will lock the island down again.

    COVID isn’t going anywhere, we learn to live with it and some will suffer from it – as with any illness in existence.

    Baffling inconsistency from a government whose lack of integrity and backbone was evident from the second it was formed.

  3. I wonder if the HSA and Dr. Lee had any consultation or say in this matter. I highly doubt it.

    It seems to me that if the Premier had any documented source for these recommendations, such as those by the European Union, FD A, etc., he would have told the press. The fact that he didn’t says a lot about the validity of these measures.