In light of the global spread of the coronavirus, the Cayman Islands government has announced a temporary ban on all public gathering of 50 people or more.
The ban is in effect immediately and will stay in effect until further notice. Excluded from the ban are hospitals, pharmacists and supermarkets.
Work sites are not considered public gatherings. Therefore, offices, construction sites and other work places are not included in the ban. Employers are strongly encouraged to implement flexible working arrangements.
The ban means government events such as inter-school sports days, Cayman Brac Agriculture Show and the Deputy Governor’s 5K will be postponed or cancelled.
Other community gatherings such as sporting events, church services, cinemas, bars and restaurants with more than 50 people will also no longer be allowed as part of the ban to protect the public.
Coming into close contact with someone who has coronavirus increases the chances of a healthy person catching the disease.
Advice from the Ministry of Health is that limiting opportunities for large groups to congregate is one way to halt the spread of the virus.
The strategy aims to delay the peak of confirmed cases in order to lessen the strain on the health sector. A sudden increase in the number of people who need to be hospitalised will add additional pressure to hospitals to respond. Attached to this release, is a graph which illustrates this approach, which is known as “flattening the curve”.
Several other countries and US cities have employed this same strategy to contain the spread of the virus. Evidence shows that this approach has slowed the spread in countries where it has been implemented.
Commenting from a tourism perspective, Deputy Premier and Minister for District Administration Tourism and Transport, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell said: “While we are aware that cancelling events will have an impact on our tourism sector, government’s first priority is the health and well-being of our people and the protection of our borders.”
He added, “The Cayman Islands has been preparing for the onset of the Coronavirus over the past weeks. The Cayman Islands does not take this decision lightly. However, in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands this decision will ensure that the Cayman Islands is able to welcome cruise business in the long term when the current threat level has passed.”
He added, “The Cayman Islands has been preparing for the onset of the Coronavirus over the past weeks. With one case confirmed to date, Government has taken the decision to ban all cruise ships calling on the Cayman Islands as of Monday, 16 March 2020, for a period of 60 days. The Cayman Islands does not take this decision lightly. However, in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands this decision will ensure that the Cayman Islands is able to welcome cruise business in the long term when the current threat level has passed.”
The Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP said: “The Cayman Islands is known to be a very close community. Visiting church or attending one of our many community events is an important part of our culture. We all need to change this behaviour in the face of a virus that knows no borders or cultural boundaries. I want to emphasize to the public that these measures have been put in place for everyone’s protection. I encourage all church goers to instead worship at home and keep in touch with friends and family via telephone or social media.”
He continued, “The people of the Cayman Islands have faced many struggles in the past. At this time, we need to support one another to minimise the impact of coronavirus across our islands.”