(CMR) The Cayman Islands is preparing to move to COVID-19 Level 2 with minimal suppression as of this Sunday, June 21, 2020, at 4:30 am when most aspects of the shelter in place provisions will begin to fall away. The news came after Dr. Lee confirmed that there were no new positive test results to report today.
The minimal suppression level will be phased in with three key dates in mind up until July 19.
The Premier ushered in the good news with a degree of caution that as of Sunday the hard curfew will be ending entirely including the re-opening of churches and places of worship subject to social distancing provisions. Despite them not having to adhere to the ongoing 25 person limit, worshippers should wear masks and take the necessary precautions to remain six feet apart.
Domestic workers and gave givers can return to work and households will be able to visit each other with gatherings of up to 25 persons permitted with physical distancing maintained. Despite this, a ban on parties, dances and any festivities/carnivals will remain in effect.
Weddings and funerals can now include up to 25 persons.
The requirement to move about based on surnames will be removed and salons, barber shops, dental and medical offices will be able to re-open subject to maintaining social distancing and wearing of masks. Offices are being encouraged to allow employees to continue to work remotely.
All beach restrictions are being lifted subject to social distancing of at least six feet. However, no more than ten persons are permitted on a single boat at any time. Whilst diving and snorkeling is permitted, however, the renting of equipment with the exception of tanks is not permitted. There will be no inter-island travel by boat for pleasure.
No one will require exemption letters after this date.
However, as of July 5, persons wishing to travel to the Brac by plane will have to be pre-tested for the virus. Once negative, they will immediately be placed on the flight and not subjected to the existing 14-day quarantine.
On July 5 restaurants, bars and nightclubs can utilize both indoor and outdoor spaces with tables being at least six feet apart. Gyms will also be permitted to reopen along with strata pools. Another big sector that can re-open as of July 5 will be pre-schools and summer camps.
The final phase of Level 2 impression will come into effect on July 19 whereby dancing, karaoke and contact sports will be allowed. There will be no further prohibition on boats congregating at locals such as Rum Point, Starfish Point etc.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lee and the premier cautioned everyone that re-opening is not without risks as over 20 states in the United States have seen significant surges in their COVID-19 numbers after re-opening some weeks ago. Florida, Texas, and Arizona hit daily records for virus cases, each identifying well over 2,000 new infections as of yesterday.
Beijing, China also began shutting back down yesterday including most notably it's schools after an outbreak of a possible more resilience strain.
New Zealand, who just last week, completely re-opened internally and celebrated being “coronavirus free” has now put the military in charge of new arrivals after two new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours. Two women who traveled from the UK to New Zealand earlier this month had been permitted to leave self-isolation four days early to visit a dying relative.
They were not tested despite rules that they should have been and now health officials are scrambling to trace 320 contacts of the pair.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the episode “an unacceptable failure of the system,” and put the military in charge of border quarantine processes.
The government admitted that they continue to struggle with how and when the borders may be re-opened but they are working towards re-opening for September 1. He admitted there is no safe way for international travel to resume and the increases worldwide are causing significant concerns.
As it pertains to the much riskier cruise ship industry, the premier stated:
“I don't see cruise ships returning anywhere in the region until next year”.