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New provisions to beat Omicron spread

Government 17 Dec, 2021 Follow News

New provisions to beat Omicron spread

At a press conference held Thursday, government announced a series of measures to try and slow down the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 that is currently rapidly taking off around the world.

In Cayman, there has been one confirmed case of this new variant and ten suspected cases (almost all of which have come from travellers coming from the United States), so, to prevent rapid escalation of cases in Cayman and the subsequent burden on Cayman’s healthcare system, government will be meeting shortly (Friday 17 December) to put in place restrictions on bar and nightclub closing times. The restrictions will see such establishments having to close by midnight and this would come into effect as soon as the regulations were published. Premier Wayne Panton said this restriction will run until 30 December 2021.

change to regulations impacting the hospitality industry will be the removal of the ability of establishments to permit several large gatherings of people of up to 250 people who are segregated from mixing. The Premier said, from experience, it was difficult for venues to properly segregate groups of these high numbers when bathroom facilities were being shared. Instead, the regulations would go back to previous arrangements, whereby establishments were only permitted to have a maximum of 100 people indoors and up to 250 people outdoors (which can happen at the same time as the 100 inside).

Also, anyone entering a prison or other type of detention facility or care home must take a certified lateral flow test at the facility or at a healthcare facility on the day of the visit. Previously, such visitors were able to take a test within 72 hours of the visit. In addition, all frontline workers must undergo mandatory testing regardless of their vaccination status.

Premier Panton said it was still early days as far as the impact Omicron might have on health and scientists were learning more every day, so measures needed to be put in place buy time until more was understood. The challenge of Omicron would be with us for some time to come, he said. The Premier said businesses should also discuss reducing the numbers of employees working together in offices and should consider having employees work from home where possible. People should not socialise and should avoid going out where possible, he said.

Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan had some good news for stipend recipients in that they would be receiving a $500 bonus in addition to their stipend, which would be paid before Christmas. The Labour Ministry would be taking over the administration of the stipends as from 1 January 2022, he advised. The government would also be looking at permitting unvaccinated children to travel to Cayman on the vaccine status of their parents. This should come into effect by the middle to end of January 2022, he said.

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