Premier rages at businesses over lockdown delay

| 24/03/2020 | 232 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at the press briefing Tuesday afternoon

(CNS): The business community appears prepared to put their economic interest above the lives of Caymanians, the premier said after government was inundated with requests for companies that are not essential to exempt their workers from the imminent lockdown. Government wants businesses to close their doors so that as many people as possible can remain at home for the next ten days in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday evening, Premier Alden McLaughlin said government received hundreds of calls and emails about the potential lockdown, with bosses from every sector claiming that their workers are all essential.

“Everyone thinks they are an essential service,” McLaughlin told the press, as he expressed his clear frustrations with the overwhelming number of requests for exemptions from employers whose workers would be required to stay home and for their businesses to close.

The proposed lockdown, which the premier wanted to introduce tomorrow, would require everyone to ‘shelter in place’, in other words to stay home. The only exemptions would be those who are part of what will become a mandated list of essential services, but that has now been delayed because of the struggle to create a definitive list and get the support of so much of the private sector.

However, the curfew will begin this evening at 7pm and only people who are part of the emergency or security services, medical and health providers, utility and fuel workers, food suppliers and delivery people from restaurants will be allowed on the road.

The police commissioner said that during this first night his officers will be reasonable and fair in the application of the law but that it will not be a liberal consideration of the law. He warned that police visibility will be high, and while officers will consider reasons people put forward for breaching the curfew before they are prosecuted, names and addresses will be taken.

The requirement for people to practice six feet social distancing as well as the reduction to only two people in any given place other than family homes is also now mandated.

The premier was clearly furious that the full ‘shelter in place’ order has had to be delayed because so many employers are insistent that their staff are essential. McLaughlin was particularly outraged after suggestions that the entire financial services sector, which is more than capable of working remotely and has business continuity plans, should be exempt.

He said the message was obviously not getting through to the business community that this is a national health emergency in which hundreds of people could die if we don’t act to curb the spread of this novel coronavirus. “We have requests for thousands of people being exempted,” he said. “It would be pointless for us to proceed with a shelter in place order if we granted all of those exemptions.”

He said everyone was concerned about the economic consequences and so was government, but the economics were not more important than lives. What the government is proposing will have a negative economic effect over the ten days it is proposed to run. But the premier said that if the strategy succeeds in containing or restricting community spread, lives will be saved and there will be no need for a full lockdown that could last months.

McLaughlin explained that government was abandoning the plan for Tuesday night to grapple further on Wednesday on how best to do it and try to get the cooperation of the business community who, he said, “seem prepared to risk the lives of their employees” to save their businesses. But he warned he would impose a radical 24/7 full curfew if they did not support the ‘shelter in place’ order tomorrow.

“We are not going to allow economic considerations to kill our people,” the premier said, adding that he would not let economics to come before anything else.

Urging people to understand that government was doing all it could to deal with this national health emergency, he said he was worried that “we will have to bury some of our own people” before the community takes this seriously.

McLaughlin said that what government was trying to do was avoid the death and disaster seen in so many places around the world with this short term lockdown for just ten days, hopefully giving Cayman a chance to limit or even contain any further spread of this deathly pandemic.

See the full press conference below


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Category: Business, Health, health and safety

Comments (232)

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  1. Shantel M says:

    how about workers in travel agencies / ticket offices / reservation offices ?

    the airport has shut down for a period of 3 weeks, people can go online and purchase tickets im sure no one is travelling so why keep these places open

    why are they still working? they were not mentioned on the essential list

    banks? every single bank provides online banking

    some offshore entities still have their workers going in

    IF THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT ESSENTIAL STAFF WHY ARE THEY STILL WORKING

    they all have spouses and children to go home to, you think they want to be exposing their families?

    NO

    can these businesses realize this is a crucial time and its best to remain indoors?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m lucky, my hair stylist has 6ft arms so i’m going to continue to look marvellous throughout this entire crisis…now, I’m off for a bath in hand sanitzer, then i shall fly my new kite made of 4 ply toilet paper….we’re in this together friends

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  3. Anonymous says:

    If nothing else, COVID-19 illustrates how badly “the trusted experts” have processed and sorted through the widely available global medical data and clinical information. Subjective ego, entrenched prejudice, and varying grades of cognitive dissonance, have killed tens of thousands and literally brought commerce to a standstill. It also showcases how vulnerable “Western civilization” is to germ-warfare where global population is on course to double in next 20 years, to some eight times the human “overshoot” capacity of the planet. This should be a global wake up call of what really ails us…an acute inability to digest and recognize truth(s).

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is wonderful insight, thank you. How it must feel to be so right in a world so wrong. I can only imagine your majestical powers and knowledge and beg for more.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    “McLaughlin was particularly outraged after suggestions that the entire financial services sector, which is more than capable of working remotely and has business continuity plans, should be exempt.”

    I’ll take complete BS for $800 Alex

    They were the first to start setting up WFH… (Work From Home)

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not all. One of the major law firms ignored the stay at home requests and was actually holding it against those who didn’t come to work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Working from home even for us only works up to a point – like when the IT infrastructure crashes and there is no one in the office to fix it. Whilst much of the offshore industry is used to doing its client facing work by e mail and conference call / virtual meetings anyway, that not to say that their back office systems like IT, payroll, and accounting are similarly placed.

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      • Anonymous says:

        LOL All of our IT peeps are WFH. I’ve had their help twice already this week while getting up and running. Works perfectly. They can monitor my screen and fix anything.
        Wish I could give our IT peeps a big shout out. I hope they know who they are and know how appreciated they are!!
        Just move into this century and you’ll be fine. 1:11pm

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    • Anonymous says:

      he’s looking for a scapegoat…cig let the virus in here.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey Aldart when you gonna withdraw the port appeal?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Local bosses seem to be the worse…ours from a well known caymanian family isn’t coming in but demands some of us do…even though we have laptops and could work from home…but he’s always been a petty little tyrant.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Expats are out there hoarding hand sanitizer they’re driving the prices up because they’re buying all of it. Now they’re reselling it for higher and higher prices making huge profits. Some of them are charging ridiculous prices just to let other people use it. So now there are Caymanians who can’t afford it even if some is available, because it costs so much, and others who have no way to access it at all. People are getting sick and dying because they don’t have any
    Oh wait. Did I say hand sanitizer?
    Housing. I meant housing. Damn autocorrect.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot in a crisis alert.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am 100% sure that you thought what you wrote was funny.

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    • Anon says:

      10.21am
      Did you read the lament of the “poor” Caymanian landlord who has three upscale rental properties who had them all rented on Airbnb, complaining she would now have to rent them locally!. It was because so many locals were doing this that local rents skyrocketed.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Greedy and stupid landlords should have taken out appropriate insurance. It’s on them, no sympathy!!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Stop. This really isn’t a local/expat issue. There are good people on both sides just as there are arseholes. We really have to put our prejudices aside and get through this together.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not funny. 1/10

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s called money dumping, or as the Cayman Islands know only too well, money laundering.
      And your realtors, banks and treasury make a lot of money out of it. Money that some Caymanians want to tap into because their own fiscal responsibilities are incompetent.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Construction sites are exempt?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Any business worth it’s salt should have a continuity plan. Almost all these employees have laptops and almost all companies worth anything have some sort of cloud usage. They can work from home! All these other jokers either have something to prove by seeming themselves “essential” even though they most certainly are not, or they’re in dire financial situations and just trying to grab every last cent they can so they don’t shut down.
    Unfortunately this country has a ton of companies that are poorly run. Every week there is an article about one not paying pension, another stealing, not paying health insurance or doing something sketchy with benefits or work permits. It’s literally a regular occurrence in the news. If you can’t run a business properly and lawfully during the great economic times we’ve been experiencing then of course it won’t run in a crisis. Keeping your doors open and risking other people’s lives is no damn excuse to try and save your company that frankly shouldn’t exist in the first place. Sorry if that’s harsh but it’s the truth.

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  10. Cathy Church says:

    You cannot say that money is the only incentive to stay open. My employees WANT to work because they do not have access to savings abroad, their landlords want the rent on time, CUC, Water authority, Flow, internet services all WILL be paid in full. And companies who seem generous to say they won’t cut you off or you can pay later without penalty, but they will be paid in full, one way or the other. They are not REDUCING the payments, they are DELAYING them. But those living just within their paychecks will have only ten days of income to pay twenty days of these services that are now even greater because they are now staying home home 24/7. It is not GREED that runs things, it is the way we exchange services with a commodity of money. We can’t pay those debts with chickens any more.

    Thus, GOV has to tell everyone that they they must discount their mandatory products during the shutdown, not just delay payments. For all of us in the tourist sector, if there is no money in, there can be no money out. But our living expenses rise!! Now how will that work without government intervention??

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Man, I hate Alden… like a lot… Like really a lot. I genuinely loath that man with an intensity usually only reserved for pedophiles and people who talk at the theater.

    But hes right this time.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    My first advice as Premier would be: start gardening. Window, balcony, any suitable patch of soil. The ride would be long and rough.

    Second: watch for each other to make sure disabled, elderly and those living alone are not overlooked.

    I’d create a hotline where people would report those in need of help. groceries shopping, a ride to a hospital etc.

    Create a list of people who should be checked daily to make sure they are Okay.

    I’d also start working on medical staff shortages that are coming. you can’t bring anyone from outside and that could be catastrophic.

    Little children also need special attention. I’d make sure baby’s food is available for at least next 3 months.

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    • Aj says:

      If we have for example only 10 doctors on island, and we need to fix the “medical staff shortage”, if they’re literally only 10 doctors on island, how are we to fix this without bringing in doctors?

      Also disabled people should have caretakers with them, I don’t think anybody who’s paralyzed, or disabled to the point where they can’t take care of themselves are in any different position as they were before the lockdown. I say just do what they’ve always been doing and let whoever used to get their groceries and take care of them continue to do so. This goes for the elderly as well. Groceries, although rationed, are still available. In terms of extra support needed, this is time for family members to step up and help out their elders and disabled. It’s sad that I even have to say this but the elderly and disabled should be treated this good all year round and not just when crap hits the fan.

      As for the little children, their parents should continue to provide as they have before the lockdown. However, if their parents are out of a job due to the coronavirus, social services have always been available to those families that need it. The only thing the government can do “more” of in this regard is to make it a faster turn around to make sure families aren’t hungry waiting for help.

      Let’s not create anymore headaches than what we are already dealing with. This is the time to make do and polish up what we do have.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We have over 100 Doctors on island!!
        That is a very high ratio per capita
        See list:
        https://caymanresident.com/live/health/general-family-doctors/

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        • Aj says:

          That’s why I put medical staff shortage in quotations because I know they’re a lot of doctors on island. I was just trying to illustrate to the author of the comment that you can’t just materialize doctors from thin air IF there was a shortage.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Disabled doesn’t mean paralyzed only. Not all disabled people have caregivers. If some could do shopping during normal time, not all will be able to stand in lines now. There’s no Amazon pantry or Instacart in Cayman.

        Babies eat baby’s food. If stores run out of baby’s food, they cant switch to canned beans.

        About doctors and nurses: just wait and you will see.

  13. Aj says:

    Pharmacy in governors square selling n95 for get this, 20$ CI per mask! They retail at 13.95$ USD for a 20 pack. Profiting and taking advantage of people during a global pandemic has got to be the lowest I’ve seen companies and even people on ecaytrade sink. I saw someone selling a can of Lysol spray for 20$ on ecaytrade. The price gouging going on is real, and blatantly done because they know that the government can’t do anything to them. CUC laid the law a long time again, raising prices during the summer when they know everyone is going to be using their AC. No regulatory organizations and it SHOWS during times like this. Anyways, I think the premiere has been pretty swift on taking action and has every right to be upset at business owners. Although I’m not a fan of his, or as a matter of fact any politician which says a lot because we are family. However I do think we need to move into a stronger lockdown. People are more likely to catch the virus during business hours, 9am to 5pm. Most people are home during the curfew hours nonetheless so I don’t think it’s going to help as much as they think. I say if we are to be “ahead of the curve” we should be harder now to save us in the future. A lot of people are losing jobs, taking pay cuts, or on the opposite side of the spectrum are being forced to work even though they aren’t an “essential business”. We are going to get over these tough times, and it’s hard to see right now, but somewhere up this foggy road we are going to one day reminisce and be proud ourselves for making it through some of the toughest times the world has seen in decades. Stay off of the news networks, they want to keep you scared so you can keep tuning in. Keep updated on the government website and live-streams so you can know what’s going on locally. We will get through this countrymen. Stay safe everyone!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The price gougers Should be prosecuted.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So should people who beat up women in bars. Your point is what exactly?

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        • Anonymous says:

          I think he.she made his/her point quite clearly. Yours, on the other hand, is less clear. Are you saying Cayman shouldn’t enforce any laws because it doesn’t always enforce assaults to your liking? Does that mean I can come and take whatever I want from your yard since it’s a free-for-all? Your point is what exactly?

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        • Anon says:

          10.47am the point is there is no legislation to deal with these price gougers, maybe because most of them are locals.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That I can care about more than one thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the last f_____ time. CUC does not raise prices during the summer. You are implying that they reduce them in the cooler months. If a price change is approved and it occurs during the summer months then that is the time. You summer bill will be higher because we all use more power during the summer
      So prove it or StFU.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If only you’d stick to your promise of that being the last time.

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      • Aj says:

        First of all we both can’t prove either of our points, second of all your anger is kind of out of place unless you personally own CUC or are a shareholder, or maybe you’re the 20$ Lysol man. Anyways, let’s say I was wrong about CUC raising prices, which I very well may be. My point still stands that price gouging is a real issue on island, especially in times like this where certain items are in more demand, so businesses raise the prices on those items because they know they’ll sell either way. Have a good day, and I wish you the best in these hard times.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t work for CUC, nor do I own shares of CUC. However, the point is easy to prove; setup an online account with them and you can see exactly how many kilowatthours you consumed each month over the last year. Mine is typically 1000 in the coolest months of the year to almost twice that in July.

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          • Anonymous says:

            LOL…reading kilowatts …from a smart meter, so smart the one at my house under construction was that it didnt know it had been disconnected for over a month but spat out a kilowatt usage and invoice anyway!

      • Anonymous says:

        Omg you must make money from them.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Dear CNS
    The present situation presents quite a quandary and has left me uncertain on which advice is most sound. The Premier is proposing a full-scale lock down for 10 days while telling the public that this is necessary to deal with the present situation. At the same time, the American President is being ridiculed for suggesting some sense of normalcy could return by Easter Sunday in three weeks.
    In 10 days, will we have more hospitals, more beds, more ventilators or more medicine? will we have a cure? Will we have immunity? If we are to make this sacrifice, can you tell us how you came up with 10 days and what will happen then?
    The public has been supportive of the actions of the Government, however, if that support is to continue, the Government has a duty to explain the overall strategy in more terms than scaremongering. I have no confidence in the utterances of the Minister for health or the CMO who comes across to me as more arrogant than reassuring. I need to understand how we make it through this, and how the Government will ensure the country continues to be sustainable.
    The Government was forecast to have 90 days of operating cash which will allow it to remain operational in the event of an interruption in Government revenue. The 90 days does not include the additional monies being paid to the HSA, taxi drivers, seamen, veterans, the poor, police overtime and those accessing NAU for the first time. Based on the increased demand and lower revenue, I am estimating that the Government will be able to go until May 31st before it will start experiencing its own hardships with impacts to salaries for over 6,000 public sector workers. What is the plan then?
    Tourism will not be back in two months, unemployment will soar, tax collection will slow and demand for Government services will be even greater. How will we manage that scenario?
    Many people believe that businesses who are resistant to the lock down are only chasing the almighty dollar. I offer you the thought that perhaps there is a perception that the Government has not offered a credible alternative for a large segment of the community who remain with the belief that they must continue to provide for themselves as the Government will not be able to look after them in the aftermath of the current crisis.
    Many entrepreneurs started their business with an idea, heart, and blood sweat and tears. They not only have loans, they have rental contracts for commercial spaces, perishable inventory, utilities and other fixed overhead that will continue to accrue even if the business cannot operate. They are also responsible for feeding their own families and those of their employees.
    The health of the nation is important, and I agree that measures are important to protect citizens. Tough but measured decisions will be necessary, but we cannot take a copycat approach, we have to look at the unique characteristics of the Cayman Islands (no unemployment income avenues, large transient workforce, high cost of living, an economy dependent on tourism and financial services, a Government with only 3 months savings, and an inability to provide economic aid to any significant segment of the population).
    Virus kills people, but so can a failed state. The Government says we could lose 800 people, but twice that amount has been killed in one year due to crime and violence in the country of our closest neighbor. The economy matters. Should we cure the flu and lose the economy, or save the economy and get the flu? Either way, this will not be over in 10 days, I am hoping that we can look a little bit beyond that in today’s press briefing so I can get some assurance that we really have a thought out plan.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Finally a sensible comment that requires answers.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Let me provide the sensible answer.

        1. If you do not NEED to be outside of your home, do not be.

        2. That will save lives and help us avoid transmission of the virus.

        3 If there is no transmission for three weeks, we can probably assume that the Islands are virus free and reopen the economy/lift all restrictions.

        4. Until then, your work can be done remotely from home, there is no NEED for you to be anywhere else.

        5. Hair treatments, meals out, renewing passports, popping out to get a new toothbrush, building new apartments, and pool cleaning are not NEEDS.

        We NEED to stamp the virus out now. If we do not no business can or will reopen this year and then you will need to go out of business, terminate all your employees, and wonder how you will feed your family while listening to cries of “bring out your dead.”

        My view of need and your view of need differ somewhat. I am pleased the Premier has a good understanding. We need him to.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Disagree. The global news says we can get past this within 100 days.

        Cayman was well closed for 90 days after Ivan so we CAN do this!!

        Don’t let greed lead the way…

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        • Anonymous says:

          If there were no new cases after 3 weeks, we would be in the clear. Trouble is, opening our border would not be wise, especially to flights from UK and USA as they will be suffering a lot longer than us due to idiots running their places. We would bring it back in in an instant. Hell, if its safe I will use a restaurant for sure and even do a staycation, but we need no new transmissions for 3 weeks to do even that.

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    • Aj says:

      First off, some people are working not because they “have to provide” but because their bosses, like mine, aren’t going to pay and let you sit at home. They’d rather bring you in to sit down all day because they’re paying you anyways. For the people that own their own businesses, this is something you have to ride out. We all have hardships right now, and entrepreneurs are no different from us in that they have to do their best with the cards they’ve been dealt. Health over money, that’s not even an argument. I don’t know anyone who’d rather be sick with an illness that has the potential to kill them, just to “save the economy”. Also, even though this disease is falsely said to only attack older people, and I say falsely because 20-48 are having severe reactions to it as well. But to play devils advocate, we all go to work and it’s fine because only attacks the old people, or is it? People are very callous towards our older people, these are grandmas and grandpas. The heart and soul of many families..and it’s very dismissive and irresponsible of us to continue our everyday operations when there’s a chance that even though we may just get a hard case of the flu, it may kill another person due to their health complications. It’s not up for debate whether we will rather save human lives or protect the precious economy. I for one will rather lockdown now, so that in the future we have a tighter grasp on things. We would only be prolonging the inevitable if we just continued as usual, because the lockdown was coming nonetheless. As for the entrepreneurs, if it’s not a service you can offer from home, use this time to setup clients or customers for future business. Also, this isn’t a copycat approach, a copycat approach would’ve been an even more stricter lockdown with heavier fines on people who violate the rules. Everyone is in a bad situation right now, we have to do our best with what we’ve all been given.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You have truly lost your humanity. And this is not “the flu” – it is more contagious and deadlier than “the flu.” The 800 it could kill here might pale in comparison to the number of people killed by crime in gun-happy America, but the low-end estimate of deaths in America if social distancing/shut downs are relaxed is 1.1 million people. The economy is screwed anyway you look at it. The world is in for a severe economic turndown no matter what idiots like Donald Trump and the Wall Street kingpins want/do. What matters is preventing as many human lives as possible. That you and your ilk think your precious toys are worth more that that is despicable. People have lived through wars and poverty for centuries. The key word there is “lived.” Your privileged lifestyle might be over now, and the fact that you’re willing to trade human lives to maintain it is disgusting.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you very much for spelling out exactly how many of us are feeling.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Great questions, what after 10 days? does the Government have a long-term sustainable plan? does it have a plan to support unemployed workers who are not taxi drivers? I agree with the writer that the Government should do more to assure the public that their proposed measure will make a difference, and that the economy will remain viable and sustainable after this lock down.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Stay safe. Stay home. Get off the tv, phones, iPads and spend some quality time with your families. So many of us lose track of what is important – and that is our families. Play games. Get a new hobby. Fix your house. Teach your kids new things. Tell your partner all the things you would want them to know. There is a lot to do and a lot to be thankful for. Enjoy this time because soon it will be gone and all of us will be back in the daily grind.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Spare us the sermon.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The rosy picture of your comment is delightful. If only 2-4 weeks were enough.

      For the public sector it is a paid vacation (while CIG still has money), for small businesses, this is a death blow.

      Some history:
      The Great Depression of the 1930s brought thousands of people, and even entire regions of the country, to their knees. The sudden, catastrophic economic downturn that followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929 caused widespread homelessness, poor health and early deaths.
      The poor were hit the hardest. By 1932, Harlem had an unemployment rate of 50 percent and property owned or managed by blacks fell from 30 percent to 5 percent in 1935.
      Suicide rates reached a record high during 1932.

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      • Anon says:

        9.00am you are right, for the Civil Service it’s a paid holiday for most. They still collect their full salary, pension and free medical benefits for however long this lasts and cannot lose their job and can sit at home with their feet up watching Netflix.This also applies to our politicians who lay down these harsh conditions but do not suffer like most of the private sector.

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    • Anonymous says:

      OMG you don’t know my kids- why do you think i go out to work, its not just money.

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    • Andrew McLaughlin says:

      Phone, tv, and PlayStation is all that’s keeping me sane in this 1 bedroom tiny apartment that I pay 1050$ a month for. Don’t have a big happy family, but I do have some friends waiting on me to get online!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    This virus is not prejudice or discriminatory. Just learnt Prince Charles now has it. So those businesses that wishes to remain open due to greed, wake up! The quicker we close businesses the quicker we can reopen and move on. The longer your drag this out, more lives will be placed at risk and more businesses will have to be forced to closed for good. So let’s get on with it and need be, Alden just make the decision and make law!

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    • Anonymous says:

      One more thing. The hospitals and morgue will be stacking up with sick and dead people and when the crap hit the fan, Mr. Premier it will be your name and your head people will want! Don’t let these greedy CEOs of these companies dictate to you life over the almighty dollar!

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      • Anonymous says:

        There would be people who died from heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, COPD, injures etc. ….who would take responsibility for that?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Government and Civil Service response has been world class. We are hopeful that the private sector will soon come onboard.

      The premier is asking us to shut down for 10 days not the rest of the year.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We need to shut down for 21 days and the shut down needs to be near absolute for it to work, or we will have to shut down for the rest of the year!

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      • Anon says:

        Here we go again that overused Caymanian mantra- “world class”. Wait and see what happens after 10 days and after the closure date on the airport expires, it will be lots more of the same.
        If anything is NOT world class it’s the Civil Service , and certainly they will not suffer from these shutdowns.Wait and see what happens during the rest of the year when a lot of our financial sector business migrates to other jurisdictions.

    • Anonymous says:

      How convenient. Cardi B called it right.

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t Alden and his buddies meet with Prince Charles a little while ago?

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  17. Donnie says:

    I commend the government on the steps being taken to try to contain the spread of the virus.
    The reaction of the business community to a lock down and the flood of requests for exemptions should have been expected however. Such behaviour has been engendered, for example, by the blatant way developers are allowed to violate the planning laws and regulations and have their transgressions forgiven by the CPA, creating a mentality that what is supposed to apply to everyone doesn’t really need to apply to me.
    And it is also time to introduce a provision in the FoI legislation that any request for a benefit from the government, as agents of the public, is disclosable to the public. A benefit for one party creates a cost for the party providing it. All requests for import duty reduction of waiver, for example, should be disclosed as part of the process of their consideration.
    I invite the government to disclose the list of all of the businesses that requested exemptions.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    So will 6 known cases of the virus we have people in the financial industry and businesses that want to remain open due to economic concerns. Let’s ask where are the CEOs and Presidents of these companies? One guess home whilst the employees are in the trenches. Mr. Premier grow some bigger balls and implement a total lock down. Learn from the mistakes from other countries and the mistakes your government made earlier. Remember to fight this virus you can’t have half of society up and about and the other half under lockdown. A perfect example of this, you have a family of 5. Four is home on lockdown yet the husband has to work, interact with clients and then come home. The risks of spreading the virus is still there. I say let the greedy business stay greedy and the deaths of their employees and families will be on their hands.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    I am sick and tired of all the fox news watching trump fans and business owners questioning everything, they are going to get us all killed. There is no price too high to pay in order stop the spread of corona virus even if it means we have no jobs to go back to when this gets under control and even if we have to keep our borders closed until a vaccine is found because short of that, it will logically re-emerge. Poverty doesn’t kill anyone so shut your mouths and do not ever question people that are 10 times smarter than you are…

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    • Anonymous says:

      I fully agreed with you till you actually wrote “poverty doesn’t kill anyone”. Poverty is a worldwide killer. Please inform yourself of the facts.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Poverty can certainly bring about early death (just look at the average lifespan of humans throughout history) but billions of people have lived through poverty. You can’t live through poverty if you’re dead from coronavirus. We are all going to die, but our most basic instinct is survival – not “let’s make sure the economy is good so that we can enjoy our posh, Western-society lifestyles.”

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        • Anonymous says:

          more than 98% of the people who got corona virus lived through it

          CNS:
          According to John Hopkins, which is tracking it, there are/have been 438,749 confirmed cases globally, and 111,895 have so far recovered, which is about 25%. Your 98% figure might well be correct ultimately but we won’t know the actual figure until all those who got the virus recover. The death rate from the JH figures is about 4.5%, though these figures don’t take into account all the people who have it but don’t know. They’ll be studying this for years.

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          • Anonymous says:

            What’s more, there are currently 7.8 billion people on Earth. If coronavirus was allowed to go unchecked and it infected 50% of the world’s population (which is the mean of the potential infection range of 30 – 70%) then at 4.5% mortality rate, it would kill 175 million people You cool with that Mr. Poverty-is-worse-than-death? And what about the millions of others what will die from lack of medical care for other injuries and illnesses because millions of coronavirus patients have overwhelmed healthcare facilities? What’s you idea for that? Tell coronavirus victims to stay home and either get better or die without medical treatment? Seriously?

          • Anonymous says:

            The Spanish influenza in 1918 only killed 50 million people.

            Humanity will survive but with lots of broken hearts.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is lack of nutrition, shelter and healthcare that kills the poor. Not lack of money. There is a subtle distinction.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Poverty kills people? How many per year? Is there a link somewhere for that?

  20. Verdant Islander says:

    While ‘Leadership’ starts at the top, ‘Discipline’ starts at the bottom … it is LEARNED from the ground up. As long as we fail to cultivate BOTH of these fundamental virtues in our society, we will struggle with an indisciplined populace who feel entitled and above the law … both Expats & locals alike. We must ALL be taught to RESPECT the Law & each other at every level of our society. ‘Lead’ by example.

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  21. Steve expat says:

    I applaud the government at this time for making some very sensible decisions in this current time.
    people we need to hear what is being said and back out premier and country. keep it safe, our families same out parents and children safe. this thing doesn’t discriminate and neither should we.
    keep indoors if not required to go out.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    All fine and good for civil servants to go home. They are still getting paid.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In many cases, to do nothing. Can they deliver food, clean and paint substandard housing, organize and participate in online training, plant vegetable gardens,…

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, if they can’t do their job from home, they should not work. We need as many people as possible to stay home! Don’t worry about whether the public servants are getting a free ride on your dime – this is a life or death situation that goes beyond petty tax-payer scorecards.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Civil Servants are still working from home, still attending meetings via Zoom or whatever, working on projects and meeting deadlines. Teachers are Civil Servants too…teachers are STILL working from home, this is not a holiday!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    @7:57 “ your mama will feed you”. ISN’T it a bit more complex than that?

    To eat one has to have food, to have food one has to buy or grow own food, to buy food, one has to go outside and to a grocery store, a grocery store has to have food, for a store to have food someone has to deliver it, to deliver the food someone has to unload it from the cargo ships, to pay for food one has to have ccard or cash, to have cash one has to go a bank etc. etc. .
    How do you do that in 24/7 lock-down regime? How do you feed babies who don’t eat rice, beans and noodles?

    Instead of loosing his temper a true leader must explain how the country would continue its essential functions under 24/7 lock-down, so a starving man looking for food and a sick man going to a hospital with an excruciating toothache won’t be arrested and put in jail.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you actually think the government would do a 24/7 lockdown without giving people access to food? Even in places where a 24/7 lockdown has meant you can’t go out at all, people were first given warning and then grocery delivery services were allowed. Let’s not give people the impression that a 24/7 lockdown will mean people will starve in their homes.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    About as useless as tits on a boar hog…..lock the place down bro….enforce all non-essential businesses,including liquor stores, to close….assist all essential workers…looking dumbfounded as usual: I think that we may have to request decision makers like Mr. Roy Bodden and Gilbert McLean to sit in these meeting….we may have to request Mr. Wayne Panton and Mr. Marco Archer to oversee our finance…there is no need to borrow right now …we just need to reduce our spending….all politicians, CEOs and people making five thousand and above should have to take pay cuts…

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Certain businesses such as banks are putting people’s lives at risk! They won’t let us stay home even if some are non-essential!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    And it would seem that Caymanians couldn’t care less about the lives of the non Caymanian people that run the economy that keeps Caymanians alive. We did not expect more of you. We will try and survive also but your survival may have just become redundant to us in the long run. The virus will pass. Most of the ones who get it will survive. Most will not get it. All will remember. We are either all in this together or not Mr Premiere. Thank you for stating your choice up front.

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    • Anonymous says:

      KIndly shut the hell up 7:04 am ….. Tired of you spoiled brats coming here and blaming Caymanians for ALL of your problems…maybe if you got your head out of your own backside and look in the mirror once in a while you’ll see who’s to blame for your problems. Seems all of you want to be waited on hand and foot by Caymanians… Clean up, your entitlement is showing, You moan about them not caring for non-caymanians yet blame them for every little thing that goes wrong… Pot Meet Kettle.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The only mistakes made were canceling cruise ships a month to late and allowing the last few planes in.
    These mistakes gave us the virus.

    But in general goverment is doing a good job.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    What do you expect if laws have not been enforced in years? Pension law, building law, environmental protection law, traffic laws, immigration laws, employment laws….. about every law in Cayman has been very openly circumvented or just been ignored with zero consequences. There are no authority figures in Cayman who demand respect. Votes and popularity has been much more important than ensuring a society which follows rules, laws and regulations. Sad that the ones who will be feeling the consequences of this ignorance are those who least deserve it.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    GREED and STUPIDITY! There ought to be a vaccine against those two.

    The greed for that almighty dollar is what has turned Cayman into what it has become. At times like these why can’t these people shut down their businesses and send their employees home to safety? That way when we open back up (as we most certainly will) their employees will be healthy, well rested and ready to give them sterling service.

    The stupidity of these people is also astounding. Stupid to the fact that this thing will kill people. Stupid in not recognising that it could well be them.

    Mr. Premier, my advice to you is to name them and shame them. Although I believe it might come as no shock to the populace who they really are. And no Nationalities are exempt!

    Steer the course, Alden. Steer the course. Your people are behind you every step of the way.

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  30. Kurt Christian says:

    Excellent Job Premier !

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Well Alden you finally woke and found out you are not incharge of the island 😫

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  32. Charles says:

    Cayman businesses especially the financial sector are ignorant self absorbed profit monkeying for the mighty dollar devils. How can we be so stupid. Wake up people of the Cayman Islands. There is a saying that in times of a crisis you see a persons character. Well big business have definitely shown their colors. Government doing an excellent job! I salute the civil service for all that you’re doing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to add that they pay Caymans Civil servants paychecks. Go ahead and shut them down. Then pray they come back when its over.

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      • Anonymous says:

        No one is saying “shut them down”. He’s saying “work from home.”

        Service businesses are the ones that are shut down.

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      • Anonymous says:

        No one is requiring them to shut down. Just to take their laptops and work from home TO SAVE LIVES!

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    • Anon says:

      11.15pm At present, exactly WHAT are the Civil Service doing?.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The business community and their leading lobby group could care less about the lives of people in the Cayman Islands. They have been emboldened by many years of being able to dictate what the government does and does not do. I don’t even think that the death of a significant portion of the non-elites would get them to put the lives of people over their desire to earn as little as one Cayman Islands dollar.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Here’s the problem Mr Premier, – people practice through imitation and observational learning. Interjecting a smart a$$ comment here would be too easy and so highlighted now to remove the implication. The real message however is that people have subconsciously learned that rules, application of them, and consequences can be arbitrary. The people have been given a mandate to follow but Mr Speaker still hides following a self assessed condition determining his own ‘leave of absence’ to which there should have been instant dismissal by way of compromising the position within the chair he holds as well as an authoritative recognition that there may likely be further charges to follow. The people like you now have been there already ‘raging and frustrated’, – dismiss the guy for starters, listen to the majority of the people and drop the appeal for the port and I guarantee a wave of support will begin and a mindset of adherence to a mandate will be forthcoming, – I’m really with you here.

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  35. Chris Johnson says:

    Unless I misunderstood the premier the banks will close. How does the man in the street cash his cheque for groceries. How does he get cash out of his and his wife’s account? Remember not everyone can use a ATM and not many can get access to an ATM easily.

    If I am correct this is a serious unnecessary hardship for a large proportion of the people who are the most vulnerable.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Simple. Get cash out before the lockdown!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Chris, I still contend that there is a serious lack of policy thought here, people are simply watching CNN and copying without trying to develop a vaccine for our own local situation.

      Shelter in place for the whole Island will not work, it is unsustainable because the virus will not magically disappear in 10 days, and the healthcare system will be in no better position to handle any surge then.

      The only thing that is being accomplished is employers laying off staff without pay and with certainty.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Watch the press conference Retail banks are exempt.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really an issue Chris. If it gets really bad the banks will not be able to pay their tellers enough to complete face to face transactions anyway. People still have the option, as before, where supermarkets will cash the cheques in return for their business, They might add a premium for the service, or to give cash back, but the banks are already doing that now,

  36. Anonymous says:

    Premier Alden and his panel has agreed that ALL PARENTS OF HIGH RISK CHILDREN AND ELDERLY PARENTS, at home, WHO DONOT WORK FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES SHOULD Not be forced to go to work but needs to STAY HOME.
    Protect your loved ones STAY HOME 🏠

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Alden just made the most critical mistake he could make. He was ready to pull the tigger on the lockdown but allowed the business community to cause him to pause and re-think. He knew that this was the critical trigger point to stop the local spread and he let them put business interests over health and safety of our people. He is now responsible for what happens next.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Alden, you designate liquor stores as essential business yet you expect to be taken seriously? You have the mindless sheep parroting the stay home message but what are the concrete steps being taken by the government to scour the globe to secure more testing kits and expand testing capabilities? are you leaving this up to the UK foreign office who will no doubt prioritise the crown dependencies? Be honest with the public, without sufficient testing the disease cannot be attacked with precision.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    Good on you Mr. McLaughlin

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Surely no one’s surprised at this, it’s the Cayman way, money before people.
    Mandatory shutdown before it’s too late, let them sort that out.

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  41. Wife of staff says:

    Mr Premier how do prison officers stay themself safe and 6 feet from prisoner in that jail of yours or do they not count sir

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wife of staff . Do you have a solution. prisoner officers are expected to take risks. If they don’t want to be part of our national security system they can join the private sector and get laid off.

      • Anonymous says:

        Prison officers need to be quarantined away from their families to do their important work and avoid the risk of introducing the virus both into their household and into the prison.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The prisoners haven’t been anywhere, we hope, to catch the virus. The risk is in your husband giving it to them.

  42. Anonymous says:

    How about the construction sites and workers who are still going at it? Are they exempt?

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  43. Anonymous says:

    Sincere thanks to Alden and government for doing the right thing. Literally the only chance this country has is full lockdown. The healthcare in Cayman has been overwhelmed on a slow day for years. Honestly when have you gone to Hospital and not waited for hours? Can you imagine how bad we would be if the Corona took over like flu season.

    I have seen government let money make decisions for them over and over.

    Thanks for doing the moral move when it counts.

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  44. Anonymous says:

    I went by the Farmers Market in town today thinking I might pick up some coconut water. But what I saw was a bunch of people….a large bunch of people….surrounding the stall not even one foot apart, shooting shit in that west Indian way…..! I drove off.

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  45. Anonymous says:

    Well, Health City closed down immediately after learning the cruise ship tourist who had COVID-19 was in that hospital. Sounds like they learned something to me.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So, why is GT hospital still open?

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      • Anonymous says:

        They knew it was a COVID-19 case and took the necessary precautions. Health City thought it was a cardiac case until the patient exhibited COVID-19 symptoms many days later.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because if they shut down the next cardiac case is a fatality. It’s the difference between the public and private sector.

    • Anonymous says:

      First let me say I think the Govt is doing a great job in fact it is quite a breath of fresh air to hear the Premier stand up Firm for his Caymanian people. Well done Sir. People remember this is a death sentence for our elderly and persons with autoimmune diseases, etc. We must put LIFE before Greed!!. You have a chance to recover your loses. But there is one chance at life and I am not willing to loss any of my loved ones or friends for the love of money . Close these Islands down NOW for 24/7 for the next three to four week

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    • Anon says:

      8.00pm They have learned not to accept wealthy patients from cruise ships carrying other Corona cases.

  46. Anonymous says:

    The people who might die are expendable. Time to stop the Government and media fueled hysteria and let people get on with their lives. The unnecessary panic they are causing will kill more people than COVID-19 ever could.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Tucker Carlson is on the phone for you. He’s in search of a very small human brain to use in an experiment. It’s for the greater good.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Chill old buddy!

        7:45pm is using sarcasm to drive home the point.

        Nobody is that stupid👍🏽

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        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately there are plenty of people that stupid. That is the exact argument coming out of the White House right now – that even the deaths of 1 million Americans are not worth the damage to the economy. That sentiment is being echoed here by the money-first, Fox News watching business elite. It’s all about protecting the shareholders to them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. You are total human garbage.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but also sounds like my employer. There are many people like that here. Stand up to them Mr. Premier, like our lives depend on it!

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, I’m a realist.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This was an obvious troll. Don’t take the bait.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Sadly, I don’t think he is a troll. I’ve been hearing the same sentiment from the financial services industry people. The middle class and below are simply cannon fodder for a better economy. If this is allowed to happen, the world is heading to sci-fi type authoritarian control by the elite.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:45, Perhaps you don’t care if your mother and father die, but I certainly love my mother and father and will be damned to let them die because of selfish individuals like yourself. You have ABSOLUTELY no idea the magnitude of the problem.

      Just look at the number of deaths in NYC today. Get ready, it’s coming here too.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Good thing for you that your elders didn’t think the same of you at a time when you were likely a strain on their resources and you were easy to get rid of.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Trump. You moron.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is not helpful. You are pathetic

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    • Anonymous says:

      You sound like someone who emailed the Premier wanting to convince him that your non-essential business is essential.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Regrettably this is the view of many business owners who are quite happy to have their minimum wage expat workers on the check outs exposed all day long. Look at the poor supermarket workers .

      Same with many families with overseas domestics … many of these families that are off work and still can’t manage without a helper- pathetic .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hope you are on the list of expendables!! What a morbid thing to say!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree! The flu kills more!

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  47. Anonymous says:

    The Premier was upset and rightly so that the business sector has put money above the people of this country. I stand by the Premier on this!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      While I am no fan of the Premier, on this issue he gets it 100%.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a small business owner in construction it’s either fire all of staff or have them work. We rely on money coming in each month to pay staff, no money we have to close, we can’t run more than a week or 2 max. No help from government are we supposed to plead with the banks to lend money so we can be in dept for years to come?

      surly the staff taking out smaller loans or mortgage breaks is a better solution. we are all screwed

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    • Anonymous says:

      As much as I applaud him for doing so. I shake my head that it took the virus for CIG to finally put the people and the country above money. Guess they couldn’t squeeze any money out of Corona.

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  48. Anonymous says:

    Alden you all are doing an excellent job putting the necessary measures in place to keep us all safe. Just say NO to all of those ignorant and selfish jack____es who only care about the almighty dollar. Tell them Stay the Hell Home or lock them up. They are only essential to themselves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hopefully this Cayman first attitude lasts long after the virus is gone.

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      • Anonymous says:

        He is not being “Cayman first” – he is being “Life first” – and that includes non-Caymanian. This is not the time to prioritize one life over the other. Doing that is as despicable as those who are more worried about the money that human lives.

        10
  49. Anonymous says:

    “But he warned he would impose a radical 24/7 full curfew..”
    Who would feed people during 24/7 curfew?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your mamma will feed you. The rest of us will put on our big boy pants and fend for ourselves. Are we really living in such a nanny state?

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      • Right ya so says:

        @ Anonymous 24/03/2020 at 7:57 pm – reading some of the comments on the presser stream and these I would say that we are most definitely living in a nanny state. Shocked at what is asked of/expected from CIG.

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      • Anonymous says:

        LUV IT 7:57.

      • Anonymous says:

        You want be able to go outside to feed yourself so…..If the Premier wants to play the tough guy all he needs to do is refuse the request for exemptions. Threatening to shut everyone down 24/7 is a ridiculous over reaction. Makes him look weak rather than tough.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Cool. Lord Of The Flies it is. Game on.

    • Anonymous says:

      My state is ordered shut down in the U.S.
      The only place we can go is to the grocery store or pharmacy and gas.Both have shortened hours. We are allowed to leave our house to take a walk or walk the dog, but are reminded of social distancing.

      In the beginning, we all thought it was ridiculous, but in just over a week or so, the numbers are now extremely high and the death rate is climbing. People are wearing gloves ( some people masks)to do anything that would be touched by others( gas tanks, mail boxes, public doors etc). EVERYONE is now very aware and self- distancing as it has become very scary. You can watch it on tv, but once the numbers start to grow in your community, it really starts to become reality and people will quickly adapt to the stay at home and self- distancing policy.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So it’s not working then is what you are saying.

        • Anonymous says:

          My point was that people didn’t take it serious at first and were still out at the bars etc.

          Take it serious. The numbers are very high here and the death rate is growing.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you were in Canada, the Canadian government. Here, you need to prepare to take care of yourself. It’s the flip side of the no income tax thing you were so happy about.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, 7:39pm you will figure that out sooner or later.

      Hopefully sooner, for your family’s sake.

      For you? you decide…..

  50. Anonymous says:

    Well, it is unprepared hospitals and unprotected medical staff that seem to be spreading the virus.

    And not only in Cayman.

    189 medical staff quarantined in Lee and Collier counties in FL. Minnesota is hiring nurses offering double pay.

    Meantime
    “ “In the index outbreak in Wuhan, thirteen hundred health-care workers became infected; their likelihood of infection was more than three times as high as the general population. When they went back home to their families, they became prime vectors of transmission. The city began to run out of doctors and nurses. Forty-two thousand more had to be brought in from elsewhere to treat the sick. Luckily, methods were found that protected all the new health-care workers: none—zero—were infected.
    But those methods were Draconian. As the city was locked down and cut off from outside visitors, health-care workers seeing at-risk patients were housed away from their families. They wore full-body protective gear, including goggles, complete head coverings, N95 particle-filtering masks, and hazmat-style suits. Could we do that here? Not a chance. Health-care facilities don’t remotely have the supplies that would allow staff members to see every patient with all that gear on. “

    Is anybody learning from Chinese snd South Koreans?

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