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Speech

Published 29th May 2020, 4:19pm

Today we are at another significant milestone as we maintain our efforts to respond to the Covid 19 Pandemic yet moving closer to the Recovery and Rebuilding of our economy. Our testing results continue to indicate that whilst the virus is still amongst us, because of your efforts, and sacrifices, we have so far been winning the fight against it.

 Because of the efforts of all of the people of these Islands we are able to slowly emerge from our homes and to move about and feel a bit safer in doing so. We have all sacrificed, from the eldest to the very young, and it has been hard and continues to be hard. But there is hope.   

We are currently operating at suppression level 3, at this suppression level the mission has been to get our society and economy moving safely by allowing outdoor recreation and economic activity. It is widely known that the COVID19 virus spreads more easily in enclosed environments and therefore increases rate of transmission so this heavily guides decisions made at this level. This is why indoor venues including places of worship and school buildings remain closed at this time with church services and classroom teaching happening online.   

As a Country we have a lot to be thankful for as we approach an enviable position of being able to relax restrictions with no hospital admissions and no further loss of life. It has always been our primary goal to save lives and we will continue this approach as a priority.   So, I come back to hope.  

As I have said from the beginning, we must preserve life and health and then look to rebuild. I will forever remember the many messages of support for what we were doing and the many messages that showed me clearly that our people never lost hope. To paraphrase the great Martin Luther King Jr, there are times when as a people we must accept finite disappointment, but we never lose our infinite hope. It is that spirit of hope and the strength of our Islands and of our people, all of our people, which will pull us through.   

It is why today I am pleased to announce an expansion of allowed activities within the current Level 3 Moderate Suppression phase which will allow for more outdoor recreational opportunities, limited gatherings with friends and loved ones in public places, carefully managed additional economic activity such as outdoor dining and other business which will safely help our country reunite and get back to work. 

That said, our private homes have been and should continue to be the safest place for us to be and so gatherings in or visits to other households are not permitted.  Alongside the careful reopening of the country while maintaining physical distancing requirements and other measures to help keep us safe, we will also continue our testing and will carefully monitor the spread of the virus in the community to ensure that community transmission continues to be low.   

All of us, however, have a part to play in this and we must remain vigilant and continue to keep yourself and others safe by practicing physical distancing, maintaining face and hand hygiene, and carefully considering if and when to participate in optional activities outside the home. We cannot become complacent – the virus is still amongst us.   

If we continue to have the success we are having to suppress the virus then the plan is for us to move to Level 2 Low Suppression on the 21st of June which will then see a further easing of restrictions and continued expanded provisions under the guidance of the level 3 mission and of course the advice of our medical experts. We hope to reach a critical threshold of 25% of our population being tested. We are currently at around 16%.  

We anticipate that at Level 2 Low Suppression, the risk of the virus will be low enough that there will be an unlocking of high-interaction and high-touch businesses and services, a gradual increase in public gatherings and, perhaps most significantly, the return of external childcare in the home. I am sure this will come to the relief of many parents and guardians who have been working at home while homeschooling – I am sure many children who will also be very excited to see their nannies and helpers again. 

Also, in Level 2 Low Suppression, we can also look forward to the possibility of changing our everyday environment by supporting or domestic tourism industry with staycations. Over the next few weeks, these and other activities will be reviewed to ensure that when the public health situation permits, we will be ready and able to move forward.  

Thank you.  

PREVENTION, CONTROL AND SUPPRESSION OF COVID- CHANGES FROM 1 JUNE 2020 

So the basic premise underlying the need for these Regulations remains the same – that is, in to prevent, control and suppress the spread of the virus, persons should remain at home, unless you fall into one of the exempted categories that allows you to be out and about and undertake certain activity. However, as you heard, there are some further softening of some of the restrictions – some starting on 1st June, 2020 and others starting on 7th June, 2020. 

These are as follows 

CHANGES TO TAKE EFFECT ON 1st JUNE, 2020 

(a) From Monday 1st June, 2020, all construction businesses may fully operate, subject to any conditions which may be imposed by the Competent Authority and persons observing the social distance requirements. 

(b) All retail and real estate businesses will be able to fully operate and must all observe the social distance requirements and enforce the wearing of masks by customers. 

(c) Persons will be able to exercise in any public place including Government walking tracks. Also, persons will be able to engage in open air non-contact sports, such as tennis and golfing, but no more than two at any time may engage in such sport and this will be subject to any conditions which may be imposed by the Competent Authority as well as persons observing the social distance requirements.  

(d) Persons will be able to travel to convenience stores, minimarts or gas or refilling stations on a Sunday. However, the surname restrictions will not apply to these Sunday visits. It should be noted that in Grand Cayman notwithstanding the gradual opening of more businesses, those businesses which are not exempted or specified in the regulations shall remain closed. However, where possible, their staff can continue to work remotely from home. 

(e) Travel between the Islands continues to be subject to the same restrictions as before.  There is however a minor change in that persons who provide security services between the Islands will now be classified as providing essential services for the purpose of travel between the Islands.  

CHANGES TO TAKE EFFECT ON 7th JUNE, 2020 

(a) From Sunday 7th June, 2020, hard curfew will be from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.  

(b) The definition of “public meeting” will change in Grand Cayman and gatherings of up to six persons will be permitted. In Cayman Brac there has been no change and twenty-five persons or less will continue to be able to take part in the said activities. The social distance requirements will continue to apply. This does not relate to Little Cayman which has no such restrictions. However, social distance requirements and the wearing of masks indoors public places continues to apply to Little Cayman  

(c) From 7th June, 2020, in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, restaurants and bars, will be able to serve customers on any patio or other outdoor area which forms a part of the premises of the bar or restaurant.  However, the following conditions will apply 

(i) no more than six customers at a table, and unless these customers all come from the same household, social distance requirements must be observed; 

(ii) each table must be at least eight feet apart;  

(iii) no person shall be seated or served at an indoor counter in a bar or restaurant;

and  

(iv) any other conditions which may be imposed by the Competent Authority. 

Further, restaurants and bars will be able to open for such services until 9 p.m. Therefore, persons who travel to restaurants or bars to collect their food or to dine outdoors now have until 10pm to return to their homes. The restaurants can continue with delivery of food until 11 pm which will be one hour later.  

(d) From 7th June, 2020, persons employed by businesses other than restaurants will be able to deliver until 11 p.m. 

(e) In relation to exercise- a person will be able on and after 7th June to exercise with five other persons who are not members of the person’s household up for no more than 2 hours per day, between the hours of 4:45 am and 9 p.m. This includes engaging in open air non-contact sports, subject to any conditions which may be imposed by the Competent Authority.  

Also persons will be able to exercise on a beach, swim in the sea and fish from the shoreline on any day. Persons must however continue to observe the social distance requirements when exercising.  

(f) On and after 7th June, 2020, in Grand Cayman, a person may use a boat between the hours of 4:45 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on any day only for the purpose of fishing in the waters, subject to the following conditions 

(a) no more than six persons shall be on a boat; 

and 

(b) no person shall travel for pleasure between the Islands to visit Cayman Brac or Little Cayman; 

and 

(c) a person may operate or manoeuvre a boat so as to congregate or gather with any other person on any other boat or vessel provided that the number of persons gathering does not exceed six persons. The prohibition on boating activity in certain areas will continue. Thus, persons are still not permitted to congregate or have boats remain in Starfish Point, Rum Point, the Sandbar and Stingray City. 

(d) In Cayman Brac, on and after 7th June, 2020 a person may, on any day, continue to use a boat to travel for pleasure, including for fishing in the waters and will be permitted to have six persons on board at any one time. 

The Regulations will last until 22nd June, 2020 or until such later date as the Cabinet may specify.