Governor Announces Curfew
In the last few days, we have welcomed home Caymanians and Cayman residents from countries overseas that have recorded significant numbers of COVID 19 cases. As a result strict measures have already been introduced to keep the public safe and help to prevent a rapid spread of the Covid-19. I fully support the robust and timely action taken by Government.
Let me also underline the Chief Medical Officerís requirement, mandated by law, for returning travellers who arrived in Cayman after 16 March 2020 to self-isolate for 14 days. Travellers who arrived before this date should also self-isolate for a similar period to help reduce risks to the public.
In order to help enforce these measures I am today announcing the imposition of a curfew throughout all three islands. The curfew will begin tomorrow, 24 March 2020, and will be in force from 9pm in the evening until 5am in the morning. Persons are required to remain in their homes and premises during these hours unless the Police Commissioner has exempted them from doing so in writing. The Commissioner will be issuing a list of exempted persons shortly.
The curfew is being imposed under Section 49 of the Police Law (2017 Revision) and has been authorised after consultation with the National Hazard Management Executive, which includes the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition. Cabinet has also given its agreement.
The curfew will initially be in force 10 days and reassessed by the Police Commissioner every 48 hours. The Commissioner who will provide further guidance as necessary.
Anyone who fails to comply with the curfew will be subject to arrest by the police without a warrant and on summary conviction will be liable to a fine of three thousand dollars or to imprisonment for one year, or to both.
I see no need for a State of Emergency to be declared at the present time but this will be kept under review in close consultation with the Premier and Cabinet. It is right that the elected government, which has an extensive degree of domestic autonomy, leads our response fully supported by the UK through me as Governor. Our Premier is doing an excellent job in highly challenging circumstances. My relationship with the Premier, Ministers and Opposition leaders is built on a solid foundation of trust and partnership. That is exactly what is needed at this difficult time.
We are living in extraordinary times. The global situation remains serious and dynamic. The Government and I are determined to do all we can to ensure that Cayman takes early and decisive action to help minimise the risks to everyone and in particular our elderly and vulnerable people. It is vital that everyone plays their part. Every action by each one of us could directly affect the life and health of someone in our community.
All of us have a responsibility to act in a way that will help prevent the spread of the virus. Please follow the advice on hygiene measures, social distancing and, even outside curfew hours, please avoid unnecessary contact with others. Stay at home as much as possible. If you see people acting irresponsibly please notify the police.
I am aware of difficulties likely to be faced by many people due to the closure of the airport and the suspension of flights. This measure was fully necessary. But we will seek to keep emergency connections open and we are looking with British Airways at the possibility of maintaining an air bridge to the UK and the Overseas Territories. Any flights that are arranged will be exceptional and will only allow outbound passengers.
I can announce that we are establishing an Emergency Travel Helpline which will enable us to give advice and assistance where possible to those who have an urgent and compassionate need to travel whilst this situation continues. The Emergency Travel Helpline will operate from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. I should stress this is for emergencies only, so please only contact the helpline if your issue is compassionate in nature. We will try to help but travel options are very limited and we may not be able to assist everyone. The helpline is due to open tomorrow morning and the telephone number will be advertised on my social media pages, the Premierís social media pages and the Cayman Islands Government pages once open.
I would like to thank everyone who is working tirelessly to keep us safe and minimise disruption to these islands during this very difficult period. We will come through this and I will not waver in my commitment to support Government in taking any further measures needed to save lives.