Cayman is opening up for business again but it won’t be business as usual in the first phase of this ‘unlocking from lockdown’.
Staring Monday 4th May, a number of the restrictions on freedom of movement and business activity will be relaxed but not fully removed.
A new raft of regulations set strict the limits on what type of activities will be allowed in the first phase of a gradual return to normality for the next two weeks.
In what Premier Alden McLaughlin explained as the new Level 4 controls, the emphasis is on relaxing the restrictions on the delivery of goods and services to the public.
He said about 6,000 persons will be allowed to conduct their business or otherwise resume work.
The Cayman Islands has been operating under a five-level emergency operating system, with the islands being under the most severe restrictions, Level 5, for the past six weeks.
With the focus being on “purposes of preventing, controlling and suppressing the spread of the virus”, the new regulations impose severe restrictions on how businesses operate and interact with the public.
The curfew remains in place with the exception of a one-hour extension for the day time soft curfew (Shelter-In-Place) which is now activated between 5:00 am and 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday for the next two weeks.
The full hard curfew on Sundays remains unchanged.
Beaches will remain off-limits to the public and fishing and leisure maritime activities continue to be prohibited.
The fish and farmers markets are being reopened with special crowd management systems being put in place.
There are restrictions on opening hours for businesses with retail banks, building societies and credit unions which will be open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Money transfer services will also be allowed to operate with strict conditions.
Other businesses allowed to operate under the Level 4 conditions between 6:00 am and 7:00 pm.
For example, convenience stores and minimarts should have no more than six customers at any time, restaurants are limited to drive-through services or take out, delivery or curb-side collection of food.
Pool maintenance services, car dealership deliveries, as well as some level of pet grooming services, and several other services direct-to-the public are being allowed but with strict restrictions.
Outlining the new Level 4 controls, Premier McLaughlin said it was also hoped that if the outcome of testing on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman continues to show good results, it was likely that the curfew and other restrictions could be lifted on the sisters possibly by the middle of the week.
He also welcomed the latest set of COVID-19 test results which show that there has only been one new confirmed case bringing the total to 74. That new case is believed to have resulted from community transmission.
There were 392 negative results and 10 people have fully recovered from the disease.
With these outcomes and the Level 5 restrictions now being relaxed, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee is reminding the public of the need to continue observing the safe distancing protocols.
The test results were welcomed by Premier McLaughlin who said they were “hugely encouraging” while reminding that “we are not there yet.”
He said the next two weeks will be used to “ramp-up” testing as the government is relying on the data from those results as one of the key factors in making its decisions.
The government’s phased re-opening plan covers five phases.
The Level 5 (Maximum Emergency) is now being phased out.
Level 4 (High Suppression) comes into effect on Monday May 4th for two weeks until May 15th initially.
The others are; Level 3 (Moderate), Level 2 (Minimum), and Level 1 (All Clear).
His Excellency, Governor Martyn Roper described the phased plan as "cautious, sensible and measured."