(CMR) Tourism workers who now receive $1000 in government stipend will receive an additional $500, Minister of Finance Roy McTaggart has announced.
The increase comes into effect this month and will continue until June 2021, McTaggart announced during a COVID-19 press conference on Thursday.
“This increase to the stipend is another step in helping our tourism worker to weather the economic and financial hardships caused by COVID-19,” he said.
Over 2000 tourism workers have been benefiting from monthly stipends since last July.
McTaggart, who gave an update on the country's finances, said through strong fiscal leadership over the last two terms, the Cayman Islands is in a good place with substantial surpluses and cash reserved,
“We are in a much better place than we anticipated at the start of the pandemic…I am pleased to report that the overall 2020 deficit will be substantially less than the $168 million core government deficit that had previously been estimated in mid-2020,” McTaggart said.
He said Central Government was estimated to close the 2020 financial year with an operating deficit of $50.1 million. He said additional expenses from other entities could push it to $75 million; however, these were preliminary estimates.
“What also leaves us in a good position is that at the end of 2020, we had 449 million in the bank,” McTaggart added.
Tourism workers receiving a government stipend are also to benefit from Health Insurance Premium Payment Assistance Programme.
On Thursday, it was also announced that small businesses that applied for a business grant and were unsuccessful would receive $3,000.