Alden backs booze shops remaining open

| 04/04/2020 | 142 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at Saturday’s press briefing

(CNS): The current restrictions across the community designed to contain the spread of COVID-19 were not about making judgements over whether people should be allowed to drink alcohol or not, Premier Alden McLaughlin said at Saturday’s press briefing. Facing questions about closing the liquor stores, he made it clear it was not sustainable to shut them, not least because of the lengths people would then go to trying to get booze.

“If we close the liquor stores, I want people to think about what is going happen,” he said. “We are already having to deal with speakeasies that are sprouting up around George Town, because people are going to go in search of liquor.”

The premier pointed out that under the current circumstances, the authorities are able to control the access that people have and the liquor stores are now subject to the alphabetical division as well. He noted that there are far less instances of people driving under the influence now than before the crisis.

“We do not believe it is sustainable for us to shut the liquor stores without serious consequences,” he said.

McLaughlin said he believed most people drink responsibly, himself included, and the minority that have a problem with drink are going to behave in a certain way, regardless of the rules.

Pointing out that in most western countries people can buy alcohol in the supermarkets anyway, he said that as far as he was aware, no bans had been introduced on liquor because of this pandemic, as he emphasized that the liquor stores would not be shut down.

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Category: Business, Health, health and safety, Retail

Comments (142)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Going back to the explicit purpose and rationale of the lockdown, this is……….

    • No sah! says:

      With all of this bull about alcohol. Have any of you stopped to think about how serious this pandemic is with no nobody talking about testing everybody and his uncle. How do we know who has it and who don’t if we don’t test everybody; people walking around with it and you don’t know, what happens when we supposedly flat out the rass curve and we open up again including our borders and it starts all over again, by those who are here and have it but show no symptoms and those who come back in with the same condition affecting those who never contracted the virus.

      That is what should be the topic if discussion not alcohol !

  2. Anonymous says:

    “If we close the liquor stores, I want people to think about what is going happen,” he said. “We are already having to deal with speakeasies that are sprouting up around George Town, because people are going to go in search of liquor.”

    Marijuana is an already prohibited natural herb classified as a high level drug alongside alcohol. How about stopping the hypocriticism regarding which drugs government thinks is ok to continue marketing based on biased infomation and outdated facts?

    A wise man once said ” government don’t care about what drugs you do, only who you buy them from ”

    This statement becomes more true every waking day.

  3. Anonymous says:

    All that import duty the only thing keeping his government afloat

    • Anonymous says:

      No bro…..the internet is…take away the people’s internet access and watch this thing go to the gutter in a minute. That instagram worse than crack!

  4. Anonymous says:

    If liquor stores were closed we would have a Sunday update by government in this time of crisis?

  5. Anonymous says:

    We are threatened if we do not abide by the laws. And we are threatened if we do. Wtf? I need to go into my business to sort things out, I left without necessary paperwork to complete health and pension transactions. This is silly! No one else will be in the premise. We need to be sane here.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We have been shut down for three weeks . Can I as a business owner, go into my store to do payroll and insurance!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Allow pool suppliers to do home delivery. Just like a pizza. Problem solved.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can’t the supermarkets sell pool chemicals in a corner of the shop? Shouldn’t be too hard.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who owns the liquor stores and who owns the pool cleaning firms? Probably give you your answer right there.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why people complain so much. One, we are going back to the good old days. Two, by not servicing pools, we even bringing back the mosquitoes. Tree, when the flights stop and no food comes in, we will finally get to go fishing again. Four, mi can send mi Pickny to Harvard – online. Five, only people who really love it here, will be here. Anyone remember how to mek rope? If so please do a YouTube video for us. Long live CUC, Polar Bear and Logic. Rass. I just realize without planes, we have to boat to Jamaica to catch a flight. We caan go too far back, you hear mi, Mr. Premier.

  11. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    I can imagine but don’t want to ponder the chaos that would ensue if liquor stores were closed. There is a certain contingent of our beautiful islands that would revert to criminal and/or violent acts in absence of alcohol and cigarettes. A year or two after this is all over, we can revisit funding various addiction programs. For now, lets keep things as calm as possible.

    I’m not implying that most people don’t use alcohol responsibly. I think most do, some don’t. I remember quitting smoking several years ago. I was not really safe to be around for a week or so. If there are others out there like me, they need to prepare for and choose to quit, not have it forced upon them.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s also the fact that actual alcoholics will go into severe withdrawal without access to alcohol and will then have to take up valuable hospital beds…

    • Say it like it is says:

      Beaumont I have always had great respect for your comments as they are always very sensible and sensitive to others. However I do feel that we should not be held to ransom by consumers of alcohol under the threat they may commit violence to get it. If they do, there are remedies for criminal acts. Why should this small element in our community allow this type of business to flourish in these difficult times when so many who do not cater to addiction are closed and threatened with bankruptcy and loss of their livelihood?. Unlike small business owners most of these liquor store owners have considerable resources and influence so can well afford to have their businesses closed down for a few months.I can read between the lines and can see nothing will change but I wanted to go on record with how I feel about this.

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        Excellent points. I think both things are true.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you please, explain me, why there is a medical reason to close the stores, why you want to close them but not the liquor sales across the islands (gas stations still sells them) and why is important that another few hundred people stop receiving an income… why that helps you or anyone else? social distancing is strictly enforce at the stores and most of the business is done by deliveries. once again… why do you want to close the stores for months?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Minster of Health should be getting ready for foot imprint of pandemic on health of people and plan far ahead.

    You’re in a stage 1:
    Immediate mortality and morbidity of C19 and post ICUrecovery

    Then would come stage 2:
    Impact of resource restriction on urgent non-C19 conditions

    Then would come impact of interrupted care on chronic conditions.

    And finally:
    Psychological trauma
    Mental illness
    Economic injury

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the resurgence of mosquito borne illness from all the stagnant pools.

      • Anonymous says:


        The “dickerey-dicks” would love the return of the extra mosquitoes hatched by stagnant pools.


        Even the swallows might return at sunset.

        What a glorious sight that would be.

    • Anonymous says:

      I swear we skipped the first few phases and we’re at the final stage now. I personally feel traumatized from all this madness.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can someone explain to me why I’d be praying to my overlord to rid me of the virus she has sent? Not judging, just wondering why i’d be thankful to this particular master. Seems like he or she is a bit of a w*nker really.
    On the other hand, i keep getting told to wash my hands in 60% alcohol as that will kill the virus. Nobody has shown me how the all-seeing-magnificent has done the same? So, as a betting gal, I’ll take my chances with the evening glass of wine (or 2 sometimes) and stay away from you all until tings get better.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Premier McLaughlin but liquor stores are not essential. In fact they could increase domestic violence.

    Meanwhile pool maintenance IS essential as we head into the hotter months as a stagnant pool is a breeding ground for millions of mosquitoes.

    Please don’t compare to Hurricane Ivan. We didn’t have Zika or chikungunya in 2001. Nor did we have a choice as power was out.

    Even if you want to prevent pool maintenance people driving around why can’t people buy the necessary chemicals to take care of their own pool?

    Just like liquor these can ALSO be bought in supermarkets in the USA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Glad you would like to live in a fish bowl, the rest of us don’t.

      Why don’t you just tape yourself into your home and leave the rest of us alone.

    • Anonymous says:

      And keeping husbands, wives and family members in 24 hour confinement in stressful lock downs where no one can even go outside, does NOTHING to aggravate conflict OF COURSE.

      Its not THAT.

      • Anonymous says:

        You would think husbands and wives would be happy for the family time with their kids. No, that wouldn’t make sense really.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree 100%, why can’t my pool company drop supplies at my house? No Contact.

    • Anonymous says:

      The family bottle of sharing wine has been a blessing
      Those who have a problem will always have a problem..
      But our homeschooling moms are welcoming that bedtime vino👌

      • Anonymous says:

        Good comment 3:48. One of the secrets of surviving a situation like this is what I call the ‘treat’ moment. A point in the day when you’ve got something to look forward to. It could be a phone call, email or text, or wine, a cold beer, a mixed drink, a chocolate bar, ice cream, chips and dip. If people don’t understand this that’s their problem not yours .

      • Anonymous says:

        Homeschooled by day-drunks. Future, here we come!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Evening cocktail… some of us…. most of us can’t wait till evening.

          • Anonymous says:

            Some of us don’t have to. We can drink all day and be just fine. These fools above talking bout sharing a bottle? Wtf?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of official
    government policy, common sense would dictate that alcohol and cigarettes are probably the last things people would need while trying to optimize their immune systems for the battle of their lives…at least those that have regard for theirs.

  16. Anonymous says:

    AL Thompson’s, Kirk Home Centre and Uncle Bill’s, should be allowed to open, because they sell some items that you can’t buy at the supermarkets.

    • Anonymous says:

      They sell MANY items you can’t buy at supermarkets. My light bulbs have all decided to blow at once, it gets darker in here every few days.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? I buy light bulbs at Priced Right and Cost U Less or at last resort at supermarkets. If there are real necessities that are not sold by one of the above then ask CNS to submit your question at the next community briefing.

      • Gray Matter says:

        What are the laws of this! Only your house Scientific laws cease . get a pandemic my bulbs blow.

    • Gray Matter says:

      Like hammers and nails.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Never ever underestimate the size and strength of the worlds biggest, strongest noxious addiction. It’s tentacles run everywhere.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think it is time to focus on food security.

    What Cayman needs to understand about its food security during COVID19

    Five Ways That COVID-19 Has Changed What Food Insecurity Looks Like In The Caribbean

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a problem for islands like Cayman even without an outbreak. We have been and now are more than ever reliant on continental connections for our food and fuel supplies. Anything impacting our neighbours to the north has a direct impact here. This is a global wake up call for all isolated communities to become more resilient by employing innovative sustainable self sufficient food production. Countless billions of dollars have moved through this economy over the last 50 years and what in terms of self sufficiency do we have to show for it?

      • Anonymous says:

        Forbes can kiss my sugar cane. What it should be saying is the Caribbean has become accustomed to unhealthy processed food. The Caribbean can always go back to producing natural, non-pesticides, food. We have an abundance of fruit and vegetables, fish, goat and even rum. Does anyone at Forbes know the history of the Caribbean?

        • Anonymous says:

          The Caribbean is rich with arable land but Cayman needs to step up and start community gardens as it’s not enough to supply our population through a crisis.

  19. Anon says:

    I can see all the alcoholics of which we have many are giving Alden the thumbs up no doubt, along with the Speaker. Methinks there’s a powerful lobby at play here, not common sense.
    In the meantime, just in time for the hurricane season we will have thousands of stagnant stinking pools spread all over the island welcoming our disease carrying mosquitoes to breed by the tens of millions as we can’t even allow access to pool suppliies for self maintenance.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m hardly an alcoholic. But I do like to have a drink and since I’m stuck at home why not have a nice GNT after a long day of homeschooling your children. Also I agree with you with concerning pools. we’re gonna have a huge issue with mosquito borne illness and not to mention more of the financial burden for households after they have to fill their pool and get it sorted again so it works properly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Swimming pools, even somewhat neglected pools, are not cryptic water sources preferred by aedes aegypti and have circulated oxygenated water with a ph of 7.2-7.8 which is not suitable for other mosquito species.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:32am Methinks

      Methinks” please stop thinking.

      You are not particularly good at it…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Lord have mercy

  21. Anonymous says:

    What happens to the churches? Keep it opens if it is only 3 person in it to pray at a distance. This is suppose to be a God fearing country. The country need prayers not liquors.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If booze shops are safe, why not pool supply stores; at least let us buy the chemicals to stop our pools becoming additional health hazards!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why did you not buy your pool supplies in time? You forgot you had a pool?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because it was sprung on us and no time to buy. Also, it’s not just chlorine you need. Lets not forget the fact that everyone would be crowding to buy another item! Why can’t someone still make a buck who has zero contact with clients?

        The DEH collected garbage and I watched through my window… they are touching all the waste coming from every household, which means some of it could be infected, and they’re not even wearing masks. Again, to reiterate, the pool guy has zero contact with us. Mosquito borne illness is going to be the next problem that we have on this island. Or maybe the government just wants to bring back oxitech.

        People need to swim because they have back or knee problems, not to mention when someone is pregnant it really helps to swim daily and usually issued by Dr.’s orders.

        CNS: You are allowed to swim in the sea.

        • Gray Matter says:

          I use my pool daily and enjoying BBQ by the pool and my Pool Bar is full and open. Have my pool for 20 years… you sound like a pool novice. STOP COMPLAINING.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you CNS, I saw that on the conference. But some of us don’t want to leave our home as anxiety has kicked in.

      • Anonymous says:

        We can’t all be as smart as you. Actually because there’s no reason to stop the pool guys so i didn’t think they would be. I guess the liquor stores are better connected than the pool guys.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is saying they are safe. It’s just worth the risk.

    • Tom says:

      Cost u less sell pool tablets

      • Anonymous says:

        No they don’t. If they do, they do t have them on the shelves and the staff say they don’t stock them. Thanks for the tip – wasted my time going.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not true on AT LEAST 1 count.

          They do stock them.

          I get my supply regularly from Cost-U-Leas for my 4 pools.

          Much cheaper than using pool service and it comes with the bonus of exercise.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t they answer their phones?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Preachers love a good drink too. Preachers and elected members. Biggest drunks we got going.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This is just pathetic. Yet you can’t let your people have access to their birthright and go in the sea and fishing?

    • Gary Streiglet says:

      Swimming in the ocean is permitted. Fishing from shore is also permitted for 1.5 hours as a form of daily exercise.

  25. ANONYMOUS says:

    Who is the biggest owner of liquor stores in Cayman – and who pulls Alden’s strings – four letters might give you a clue.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The Drinking has to continue until the economy improves…and that not improving anytime soon so we got a lot of drinking to do.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Soon enough, no one will be able to afford to pay their bills anyhow because everyone will eventually lose their jobs permanently, So the liquor stores won’t be selling booze anyhow for too much longer.

    Just keep in mind that the MO right now is, the growing economical problem is ONLY a problem when it affect those in power with a government check. Otherwise, it’s considered “no one starving yet”.. So why not close for another three months? Hell, why not till the end of the year?

    And by the way. F-you with your exemption for work, how dare you ask to work anyhow! Don’t you know people are dyyyyyying in the in the streets?! Well may be not but…… THEY COULD BE!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong !! The liquor stores will get busier the more desperate and anxious people become.The way of the world.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Liquor stores are an essential service during a public health emergency yet I can’t grow a medically recognized and imported plant (cannabis) on my own land?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait in line.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s like this…… Cannabis affects your brain. With continuous use it reduces the ability to concentrate and things start going downhill. Perhaps it is O.K. to screw up your own mind, but you shouldn’t recommend it for others.

      • Anonymous says:

        No job on an island that cannot sustain itself. Concentration won’t be required.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m a professional with a degree that’s been medicating with it for 15 years now. No problems to report. Why allow tobacco or alcohol in that same breath?

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Medically, not at all “well recognized”, non-essential, 95% recreational, and illegal class A.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Stop the picking up of food from everywhere everyday, regardless of your surname. Shop, cook, stay home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but we’re eating the food eveyday so it has to be replenished. Okay?

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        Is that the manner in which you normally shop? Every other day? I have just completed a shop for my two families, and we are stocked with normal cooking for two weeks. MUCH longer if things get worse.

        I’m not trying to bust your chops. I believe we need to think far ahead; what is the worst case, what should our response be in that case, and what do we need to acquire? It isn’t toilet paper. For example, if you know how to fish, do you have supplies to do so?

        I have considered buying a couple of bicycles. I don’t see a down side to it, as I think/hope they will be used. Just looking for a deal right now, and as soon as it is appropriate for us to move more freely, I will acquire a couple of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can replenish the food supply on your 3 shopping days for the week.

    • Chef Can Cook says:

      I have my own personal chef at home his name is Boyardee!

    • Anonymous says:

      You have a point, what was all the shopping about? They bought so much in the supermarkets but still not cooking. This is a good time to research some recipes and involve the entire family.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not everybody that lives In these Islands have a kitchen OR even, access to a kitchen.

      And not everybody can burn wood to cook in their backyards.

      Ever thought of that?


      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for finally explaining that to the privileged.

        Many of us live in “bedrooms only”.

        Been that way since the days of “skating rink” on Eastern Avenue which rented single rooms!

  30. Anonymous says:


  31. Anonymous says:

    premier should not address this again. he has answered this on many occasions.
    some questions are beyond belief.

  32. Anonymous says:

    My Premier.

  33. Done reach says:

    So please Mr Premier if liquor stores is esensal, please open AL Thompson, so I can get some repairs done while I am home, that’s esensal for me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Spot on! Open ALT, Kirk’s Home Centre, Uncle Bill’s and Office Supplies in the same way that the supermarkets are operating for 1 week ONLY and let people get hardware, bicycle parts, stationery etc. Can’t be that difficult surely to arrange.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree but unfortunately this would lead to a number of issues with works carrying on breaking the rules set in place. You can’t tell me it would not be abused for workers to be inside people’s yard doing these fixes and not the owners themselves. Maybe 30% yes. Shut down the suppliers and they can’t break the law and work , simple.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I was unable to purchase a pipe cap and some pipe cement to fix a broken water pipe during the same time that I would have been able to stop at the liquor store to purchase some rum, cigarettes and a few beers.

    The Premier, with his stance on this issue, has permanently and irrevocably lost any and all credibility he had to lead us out of this crisis.

    • Anonymous says:

      R u a Moron.?
      The Premier can’t lead us out of a crisis?
      You are the kind of person that needs to be out in a boat in the sea by yourself.
      Your damn ungrateful.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the weeks ahead, it would be welcome to see hardware stores get limited clearance for online order and pickup for at least a couple “alpha“ days a week. We could have patched quake cracks and painted interior our house a few times over by now…but cracked pipes and leaks are a different priority, over home improvement, obviously!

    • Tom says:

      go to Liquor store and buy bottle of wine then use that cork to plug your bloody pipe!

  35. Anonymous says:

    LOL. This is an April Fools’ joke. The Premier is justifying keeping the liquor stores open by saying that if they were closed the unspeakable would happen. LOL.

    What the Premier is actually saying when he says that there would be “serious consequences” is that we have serious problems as a community.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Let people swim in the sea for exercise, not in groups you can stipulate that it is swimming for exercise only not in groups. Some people rely on it for back and knee issues or surgeries. For some this is the only exercise they do and as this is a long term problem we can’t be stopped for months swimming in the sea for exercise if we don’t have access to anything else. Please government we agree with all your decisions but not this one the virus cannot live in the sea and swimming improves your lung function which is important to fight the virus.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:10 Thank you! The sea is the only thing holding my sanity together atm. I dont understand the logic behind banning it!? Is it a policing issue? Are they worried about people drowning or having a heart attack? You just as easily go into cardiac arrest running on the beach. i really dont understand this.

    • Anonymous says:

      As per announcement 5 Apr, swimming but not snorkeling or diving will be allowed as part of our daily 90 time slot for exercise including travel time.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Premier never said you couldn’t swim in the sea. Why do you not get this? However, Brac cops are harassing people for it. Learn the rules cops.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Bravo Alden! Though it is a bit odd in this curious world of ours that it’s ok to drink alcohol but not to use any other mind altering drug.

  38. Anonymous says:

    First sensible thing the man has said in weeks.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Another good call from our Premier. Forcing liquor stores to close will create more problems than it will solve. Glad to see we have a pragmatic leader. I still don’t understand how the construction work at the airport counts as essential when all other construction has stopped. Its a great opportunity to get the work done but is it really essential?

  40. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. I might actually vote for you in the next election.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Good choice. I need my glass of red wine daily with all this stress.

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