Friday, 15 May Update
At the COVID-19 press conference Friday, 15 May 2020, Cayman Islands' leaders announced easing of restrictions on Grand Cayman from this Sunday onwards with the bulk of the new changes coming into effect on Tuesday next week. New regulations ushering in the changes are now gazetted.
Highlights of the new changes coming on Tuesday include: allowing beach access Monday to Saturday by last name protocols and strictly for exercise, including swimming. Also, shoreline-fishing and fishing by boat, limited to two persons in a boat from 5.15 am to 7 pm are allowed.
24-hour hard curfew on Sunday is also dropped so that the only hard curfew now in place is uniform for seven days of the week - from 8 pm to 5 am daily.
Exercise is extended to 2 hours each day from Tuesday, 19 May, between 5.15 am to 7 pm daily, including Sundays.
Strata pools can be used for swimming, and tennis courts can also be used after Tuesday when the new regulations come into force, but are limited to members of a single household or a maximum of 2 persons, with social distancing maintained.
More changes are planned in another 2 weeks, if encouraging test results continue, allowing more normalcy to return to Grand Cayman.
Equally importantly, with the increase in testing and the results which appear to show low community spread, business and the economy are further opened up. Construction and development will be allowed in a phased manner as well as supporting businesses such as hardware stores and home depots starting from Tuesday, 19 May.
Omnibuses can operate from Tuesday under protocols.
Monday is a public holiday recognising Discovery Day and the next press conference is on Tuesday. Prayers at Friday's press conference were led by Pastor Hyacinth Rose.
The Prevention, Control and Suppression Of Covid-19 (Grand Cayman) Regulations, 2020 (SL 47 of 2020) - Supplement No. 1 published with Legislation Gazette No. 38 dated 16 May, 2020 come into force on Tuesday, 19 May 2020.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee reported:
- Out of 558 test results (486 at HSA and 72 Doctors Hospital), only one positive is recorded from contact with a known positive case, and 557 negatives.
- A total of 5,900 have been tested.
- Out of 94 positive cases so far, 9 are symptomatic, 28 asymptomatic, 2 admitted at Health City for unrelated issues, and 54 have recovered.
- At government run isolation facilities, there are 59 individuals at present, as well as 104 individuals in residential isolation by Public Health.
- The 'flu clinic had 9 visits and the 'flu hotline 10 calls about symptoms and 17 seeking screening results.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reported:
- For the full report by the Commissioner, see sidebar below.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:
- With approximately 9% of Grand Cayman tested, and with the encouraging result of only one positive today, and overall results that indicate low community spread, some restrictions to the soft and hard curfews are being eased. Government strategy to fight COVID-19 is thus bearing fruit.
- Beaches and shorelines remain closed this weekend and on Monday, the Public Holiday. On Tuesday, 19 May, beaches will be open for exercising including walking and swimming, Monday through Saturday from 5:15 am - 7:00 pm using last name protocols. However, no picnics, partying, sunbathing or barbecuing are allowed on the beach and all beaches are closed on Sundays. Exercising on the beach must take place by last name basis protocols.
- On Tuesday, 19 May fishing from the shoreline and by boat will be allowed from 5:15 am to 7:00 pm. Fishing by boat will be limited to two persons in a boat.
- Businesses that can open from Tuesday, 19 May are home depots and hardware stores, building and maintenance businesses including engineering, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and similar services. Auto repair garages, car dealerships, companies which sell vehicle parts and maintain and repair vehicles, car wash businesses and boat repair and maintenance companies can also reopen.
- Whilst it is estimated that the construction industry and supporting services comprise some 8,000 people; the strategy is to test at least 3,200 people within 2 weeks starting the week of 18 May.
- Once 40% of the construction population is tested and if the results continue to show low community spread, Government then anticipates the rest of the construction industry to commence work on 1 June or as soon thereafter as possible.
- In the first phase, construction workers will resume work beginning with projects that are awaiting Final Inspection and Commercial and Multi-Family dwellings. There are a total of 45 Final Inspection projects and 65 different commercial and multi-family properties across Grand Cayman under active construction.
- In two weeks, a total of 10,000 test results are expected to be completed which will help guide decisions and further easing up of other businesses and activities.
- Also from Tuesday public buses can operate. However, they must ensure only 1/2 of the total seating capacity is used at any time and seating is staggered in such a way that each passenger is able to distance as far as possible from the other passengers and driver; and all persons including the driver shall wear masks or cloth face coverings.
- All persons including the driver of the taxi or omnibus shall wear masks or cloth face coverings when travelling in the taxi or omnibus.
- Kindergartens and early learning institutions remain among the last expected to reopen.
- All employees of all new businesses allowed to reopen will have to be provided letters from their employers stating they are exempt employees. The employers must first obtain a letter confirming that their business is exempt. Applications must be made online at www.exploregov.ky/curfewtime.
Full details of the changes in Regulations are now gazetted.
His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:
- The Cayman Islands now ranks 10th in the world for testing.
- The news about antibody testing is very exciting and will form another very important tool in our armoury to combat COVID-19.
- An evacuation flight to Manila, Philippines via London is now organised via the British Airways airbridge and will leave Grand Cayman on Saturday, 23 May. It will not bring anybody back to the Islands. The price per ticket is US$1,850. Details for purchase will be provided to those who have registered on the travel helpline; there is no need to call the travel hotline. All on the flight will be encouraged to wear face masks.
- Further airbridge flights to London are also planned and likely to be in the early part of June and also July and definitely August when students return to attend educational institutions.
- His office remains in contact with the Indian authorities to organise the evacuation flight for Indians in the Cayman Islands.
- There will be no further flights to destinations other than Miami in the US.
- He gave a shout-out to the Civil Service Redeployment team which has dealt with 2,850 civil servants to manage redeployment to needed areas at present. This is another example of the civil service stepping up to help all in the Cayman Islands.
Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:
- Supply of masks continues. For details, see sidebar below.
Commerce Minister Hon. Joey Hew said:
- The number of applications under two programmes, the loans programme being processed by the Cayman Islands Business Development Centre and the grant programme under the Small Business Assistance Programme were available.
- As of Wednesday afternoon, Government received 291 applications for grants for small businesses of which 205 were processed and 129 submitted to be paid and 53 further applications to be submitted yesterday; 14 applications did not qualify.
- Regarding loans for small businesses, 32 applications were received, all were reviewed and 21 have been submitted to the Cayman Islands Development Bank for credit checks.
- Initially, there was a very strong response of interest but that curtailed once the announcement of pensions funds becoming available was made.
Sidebar: Police Commissioner Outlines Changes to Curfews
"The crime situation across the Cayman Islands remains very stable and the policing and security operating environment is very calm. The hard curfew in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac is operating well.
Last week, I mentioned speeding as a community concern. Over the past week our Roads Policing and Traffic Enforcement Unit have carried out speed detection operations across Grand Cayman and between Monday and Thursday of this week made 148 speeding detections. Tickets were issued in the majority of cases, 6 of the detections reached the threshold for court prosecution with the top speed recorded at 85mph this week. The persons warned for prosecution are liable to disqualification from driving.
Otherwise all is very stable and calm across the islands.
I would now like to take a few moments to go through changes in Shelter in Place and hard curfew changes which will come into effect next week commencing Tuesday morning 19th May 2020. There will be very little change over this BH week-end save an easing in exercise restrictions this coming Sunday 17th May 2020.
New Curfew Order (5):
Yesterday, the 14th May 2020, as required under the provisions of S. 49(1) Police Law (2017 Revision), I consulted with H.E. the Governor of the Cayman Islands and advised him of the necessity to impose a new curfew order effective 5am this morning 15th May 2020 - (my advice was predicated on the basis - that it appears to me that having regard to the immediate threat of a serious hazard on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands associated with the COVID19 pandemic, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that in the interest of public safety it is necessary to impose a new curfew order). This morning following a meeting of the National Hazard Management Executive followed by a meeting of Cabinet I have now received permission from H.E. the Governor to impose a new curfew order effective this morning Friday 15th May 2020 commencing at 5am running through until 5am on Tuesday morning 2nd June 2020. In effect, this new imposition of curfew order will be in place for 18 days through to the 2nd June 2020 at 5am. Subject to the following conditions:
No curfew order in place and the only regulations applicable to LC are contained in SL 45/2020
Hard Curfew remains in place each night, including Sunday, between the hours 8 p.m.- 5 a.m through to 2nd June 2020. This means that only exempted essential services personnel may be on the road outside and away from their residence during the period of hard curfew. The current regulations applicable to Cayman Brac are contained in SL 46/ 2020
Current Soft curfew or Shelter in Place Regulations contained in SL 42/2020 dated 30th April 2020 which came into effect on the 4th May 2020 will remain in place until 8pm on Monday evening 18th May 2020.
On Tuesday morning 19th May 2020 at 5am new Shelter in Place Regulations will come into effect which will remain in place until Monday 1st June 2020 and will have daily application between the hours of 5am and 8pm Monday to Saturday. The new regulations will significantly ease existing shelter in place or soft curfew restrictions. The Premier will address you shortly on the range of easing of restrictions contained in the new regulations. In a moment, I will outline the changes in hard curfew hours and the easing of restrictions that will apply.
Hard Curfew or full lockdown, save for exempted essential services personnel will be in operation this coming bank holiday week-end that is tonight through to and including BH Monday 18th May 2020 between the hours of 8pm and 5am. Over the coming weekend beach access to public beaches on Grand Cayman remains in full 24 hour lock down or hard curfew until 5am on Tuesday morning 19th May 2020.
Exercise periods not exceeding 90 minutes is permitted between the hours of 5.15am and 7pm today, tomorrow Saturday, this Sunday included and BH Monday. Persons are permitted to drive for the purpose of exercising. No beach access.
Next Tuesday 19th May will see existing hard curfew restrictions eased.
New Shelter in Place Regulations coming into effect next Tuesday 19th May 2020 will introduce the following changes in hard curfew conditions;
Beach access - Effective 5am next Tuesday 19th May 2020 Persons will be permitted to exercise on public beaches between the hours of 5.15am and 7pm Monday to Saturday only, subject to the restriction that surname and alphabet range will apply A-K on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and surname range L-Z on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Exercise periods are increased to 2 hours and it is permitted to drive your vehicle to the beach or other location for the purpose of exercise.
To assist in understanding this easing of restriction - Exercise is confined to a period of 2 hours and exercise includes, swimming and fishing from the shoreline, (includes ironshore). Social Distancing requirements apply and persons should not congregate in groups of more than 2. No other inshore activities are permitted. No picnics or other social gatherings are permitted on public beaches.
Fishing. The restriction on fishing by boat has been relaxed which means that between the hours of 5.15am and 7pm Monday to Saturday only, use a boat for fishing is permitted subject to the condition that no more than 2 persons can be on a boat for the purpose of fishing.
No inter Island travel for fishing is permitted and the following restrictions are in place as it relates to boats engaged in fishing - No exercise, fishing or boating is permitted at the following locations - Star Fish Point, Rum Point and Sandbar. This means that a person may not anchor any boat, exercise on the beach, fish or swim or carry out any activities in any of those mentioned areas. This restriction does not impact beachside residents at those locations excluded.
This easing of curfew restrictions for boats does not include sailing boats and leisure craft and is confined to water activity for fishing only, subject to the restriction and exclusion zones mentioned.
In effect hard curfew will be in place between the hours of 8pm and 5am nightly from the 19th May until the 2nd of June 2020 and this includes Sunday, removing the hard curfew or full lock down between the hours of 5am and 8pm, save access to public beaches on Grand Cayman is not permitted on any Sunday during this curfew.
The new Shelter in Place Regulations will be gazetted."
Sidebar: Minister Seymour Informs about 'Flu Clinic, Masks
"As I've mentioned recently, over the past couple of weeks the Flu Clinic at the HSA has steadily seen a decrease in numbers, which is a reflection that the incidences of flu related illnesses are diminished.
Therefore, starting this weekend the HSA will be reducing the hours of the Flu Clinic on Grand Cayman. The Clinic will be opened Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 8:30am - 12:30pm. During the week, the hours for this clinic will remain the same 8:00am - 4:00pm. Faith Hospital will also continue their flu clinic Monday - Friday as they have been doing.
I continue to be impressed by the responsiveness of the business community to support the healthcare sector in this crucial time as we confront this global public health emergency.
In this regard, I'd like to make special mention of the 'Caring for Life Foundation' for their recent donation to the HSA for the purchase of vital lifesaving medical equipment for the care of patients with COVID-19.
The Foundation's donation of CI$50,000 expands the capacity of the HSA to care for more ventilated patients and those requiring critical care services, if necessary.
The 'Caring for Life Foundation' is a community-driven charity that raises funds to purchase equipment and supplies for our healthcare system. Over the years, they have made many contributions to help better the lives and the medical outcomes of those who need it most. Thank you to the Directors of the Foundation for this generous donation.
I would also like to speak today to the community based distribution of reusable cloth masks.
Currently, an initiative is underway to provide reusable cloth masks to all members of the community within the Cayman Islands.
Via one of the clusters in the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC), 100K reusable cloth masks have been procured - 50K from a supplier in Jamaica and 50K from Hanes, a Company in the USA. I wish to thank the DART group for their assistance in helping us to procure the masks from Hanes.
Police and Community Support Officers of the RCIPS, under the leadership of Inspector Myles, commenced distribution of the masks door-to-door across all three islands earlier this week and by the end of the day yesterday a total of 2,735 masks had been distributed - 600 in the Sister Islands and 2,135 in Grand Cayman.
Distribution will continue until all households in all three islands have been supplied with masks. Flyers with instructions for the care and proper use of the masks are also being provided to ensure maximum effectiveness.
These masks have also been provided to frontline essential services personnel within many public safety and other customer facing agencies including the Police, Prison, Border Control, Airports Authority and Water Authority. They will also be included in the return-to-work PPE kits for all Govt. entities, including SAGCs, in preparation for phased reactivation.
To ensure access to supermarkets, as of today, Police Officers are on site at all locations and will have a limited supply of disposable masks to give anyone who comes without one. This can be donned immediately, and the reusable cloth mask they are provided with at the same time can be utilised after it has been washed, per the instruction on the accompanying flyer.
Positive feedback has already been received from persons across the islands who received their masks within the last few days and Officers will continue their door-to-door visits over the long weekend to take advantage of the fact that more people will be at home.
Additionally, all MLAs were supplied with additional disposable masks on Wednesday of this week for distribution within their constituencies.
These initiatives are but another measure being taken to ensure the health and wellness of all persons. I must emphasise that in addition to wearing a mask, you must continue to practice good hand hygiene, proper respiratory etiquette and adhere to the prescribed minimum social distancing requirements.
My thanks to all involved in these distribution initiatives.
Keep safe everyone and may God continue to bless us all."
Sidebar: New Regulations' Highlights, Link
Prevention, Control and Suppression Of Covid-19 (Grand Cayman) Regulations, 2020 (SL 47 of 2020) - Supplement No. 1 published with Legislation Gazette No. 38 dated 16th May, 2020.
Topics covered include:
- Public meetings - exemptions;
- Wearing of masks;
- Prohibition on holding of public meeting, procession or festive ceremony;
- Closure of public places;
- Restriction on certain activities and operations;
- Restriction on visitation;
- Shelter in place;
- Restriction on certain essential travel;
- Travelling by boat;
- Police powers;
For full details, visit http://www.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12960481.PDF.
For further information contact: Bina Mani