The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce supports the Government's decision to extend the curfew restrictions and urges everyone to follow them.
“Since the COVID crisis began”, explained Chamber President Woody Foster, “the efforts of the Chamber have been focused on three strategic areas. First, supporting the government’s containment strategy; second, alleviating the looming humanitarian crisis; and third, supporting the many business owners doing everything they can to keep their hard-working employees in jobs.” He continued, “This is not a time for our community to be divided by criticism or blame aimed at the government or anyone else. It is a time for our community to pull together and for each of us to do the right thing by our neighbors.”
With those objectives in mind, Chamber efforts to date have included:
• Daily email updates and a dedicated website (https://chambercovidupdates.ky) to share Government announcements and other developments and to encourage compliance with the lockdown among members;
• A set of 23 policy action recommendations to government aimed at both alleviating the humanitarian crisis and the pressure on struggling businesses;
• Launched an initiative in partnership with the Department of WORC to redeploy unemployed tourism workers to serve the growing needs of local delivery companies;
• Launched a series of webinars on legal and business issues relating to the COVID-19 crisis, launched on 1st April;
• Initiated a new community assistance programme known as Resilience Cayman (see www.resilience.ky) which aims to provide financial assistance and counseling to residents in need among other services.
• Began collecting the names of guest workers and family members who have expressed a willingness to be repatriated.
A recent Harvard Business Review article citing nobel-prize winning economist Paul Romer stated that, in order for economies to begin to re-open in a phased manner, at minimum, several conditions must be met, including
• Evidence that the country is “over the peak” of the current wave, i.e. a significant reduction in daily infections.
• A fully resourced health system able to cope with any “second wave” or resurgence.
• Widespread, “unrestricted” testing, for both infection and antibodies, particularly among “front-line workers” (including electronic systems for tracing contacts and certifying those with immunity).
• Widespread availability of PPE.
The authors note that such pre-conditions are not “one size fits all” and must be adjusted to suit each location. While it is too early for the Chamber to express a view on the conditions that might pertain to us here in Cayman, we would note that only Public Health is qualified to judge whether the healthcare system is adequately resourced, and that, other than the supply of tests for COVID-19 infection, none of the other pre-conditions the authors propose appear close to being met at this time.
While it is, as the Premier has indicated, much too soon to ease the restrictions and re-open non-essential businesses, it is not too early for us to make a plan to do so for when the government is satisfied that the necessary pre-conditions have been met. The Chamber has begun to lay the groundwork to assist in doing so by engaging with our members as well as independent subject matter experts. None of this work should be mistaken by our members, or any member of the public, as a call for the easing of restrictions.
Once again, we fully support the Premier’s actions to contain the spread of the virus in our community.
About the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce
The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce represents more than 650 businesses and associations across all industry sectors in the Cayman Islands. Its members employ over 18,000 persons or about 45-percent of the country’s labour force. The Chamber supports, promotes and protects the interests of its members and the public’s welfare and serves as a catalyst for positive change, connecting community, business and government.
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