Church goers still have to wait some time before they can worship together again in the Cayman Islands, despite Bars in the jurisdiction being back in action on Sunday 7th June, after the Islands’ Government gave the green light for the sector to open after 2 months of lockdown.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, 9th June, officials acknowledged and addressed the public’s concerns around any social and spiritual conflict between opening the bars before the churches.
Officials explained that the churches present different risks than bars, with regard to more elderly persons being in attendance. However, they noted that it would not be very long before church and sports activities could restart.
“Bars, restaurants and outdoor dining will test the prevalence of the virus and whether there will be a spike,” they remarked.
“Social distancing requirements applied are general causing proprietors and patrons some discomfort,” noted Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, who added that the jury is still out on many of the issues such as asymptomatic persons passing on the virus.
With only a 1.15 percent rate of infection showing from testing in the Cayman Islands and virtually no actual sick persons, all restrictions could be lifted, “in a couple of weeks”, said the Premier.
“Bars and restaurants open and not churches is a valid concern. There are reasons behind what we did. We are asking you to just trust us. You have been very patient and we thank you for your patience, remarked Minster of Health the Honorable Dwayne Seymour who said, Decisions come from “a place of love”.
“I definitely want to get back to church I feel it in my bones. We need to have a safe way and an inside plan, as well as an outside plan,” he added.
Churchgoers have been holding services online in the meantime, with many saying they are eager to have fellowship in the house of service once again.
“I think they should have opened the churches this past Sunday. We can certainly be responsible, which is never a guarantee when alcohol is involved. If there is anywhere that social distancing will be more difficult, it is where people are having drinks,” noted an attendee of the Church of God.
However, he said he understood the need to protect older persons.
There is not just the aspect of worship to consider in relation to Churches but also the fact that many Pastors and youth workers depend on the business of Church to pay their bills; adding another facet of concern to an already ‘uncertain and challenging situation’.