Business begins to emerge as restrictions relax

| 15/05/2020 | 41 Comments
Cayman News Service
Staff at Uncle Bill’s, Grand Cayman

(CNS): As the HSA and local hospitals continue to ramp up testing for COVID-19 with very few positive results, the CIG is allowing some businesses to emerge from lockdown. From next Tuesday, the Cayman Islands Government is allowing the reopening of hardware stores and home depots, car dealerships and other businesses that sell parts and maintain vehicles, garages, boat maintenance and repair businesses, car wash businesses and pest control, as well as construction and its related services.

Construction, building and maintenance businesses, including engineering plumbing, electrical and air-conditioning and similar services will be allowed to operate under the new regulations that take effect next Tuesday.

“This is an area that has given us a great deal of trouble to come up with an arrangement that allows the reopening of that sector to be conducted fairly but minimises public health risk in a sector that has more than 8,000 workers and where people necessarily come into close contact with each other,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said at Friday’s press briefing.

There are 1,968 entities with a trade and business licence to operate in this sector, he said, and they could not provide coronavirus testing for all of the workers that they employ.

So, they identified projects that were close to completion, only needing final inspections. Pubic health is in the process of testing all of the workers for these 45 or so projects, which is just over 100 people, after which they will be allowed to proceed by early next week. Once they are compete and get signed off, that triggers payment to the contractor and then they are in a better position to pay subcontractors, McLaughlin explained.

Work on a second category of construction projects, which is commercial and multi-family dwellings, could begin as early as next week, he said. This includes about 65 projects across Grand Cayman under active construction, meaning the project has received an inspection report since 1 January. This will result in up to 3,000 workers getting back to work.

The leads of these projects have been contacted and asked to submit the names of all their workers, who will then be tested for COVID-19 and afterwards be exempted from lockdown.

A third group of construction projects is single-family dwellings and duplexes. The leads for these will be contacted the week of 25 May and their workers will also be tested before being allowed to resume work.

McLaughlin said the government’s strategy is to test about 3,200 people within the next two weeks. This is 40% of the entire construction workforce, and if the results allow, the rest of the construction workers can go back to work on 1 June.

However, public health will continue random testing and will inspect sites without prior notice to ensure that the proper protocols are being observed, such as wearing masks and hygiene, the premier said. The transportation of workers will also be monitored to ensure that it is being done as thoughtfully as possible.

Turning to public transport, McLaughlin said that these vehicles will be able to operate from Tuesday, but only with 50% of their carrying capacity and everyone must wear masks inside the vehicle.

According to the new regulations, masks must be worn in all enclosed public spaces where it is difficult or impossible for people to remain six feet apart. They also permit the owners of the establishments to deny entry to anyone not wearing a mask or following protocols.

Beauticians, hairdressers and barber shops will remain closed, as the premier said this one of the most dangerous areas because of the need for very close contact between people.

Businesses such as office supply stores and bookshops can continue to deliver and offer kerbside collection but cannot have customers inside for the time being. The premier explained that only places deemed big enough and have the ability to put in place distance protocols were allowed to open during this phase.

Hospitals, doctors’ offices and dentists are still not open for non-emergency or critical appointments. Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee noted that currently people can go to see their GP or specialist for an urgent issue, and telemedicine is available for some routine issues.

He said that the Heath Practice Commission, which advises the government on this, was “keenly aware” that people need to see their doctors. “I can’t promise anything as it is a government decision,” he said, but thought that this might be included at the next suppression level.

See the full press briefing on CIGTV below:

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Category: Business, Construction, Retail

Comments (41)

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  1. Junior says:

    Ongratulations, you won’t see me shopping anywhere I don’t need to until this virus leaves, hope you all don’t regret this

  2. anon says:

    Can we clarify that all the poor out of work expats have got from the NAU so far is a $150 food voucher per person (and that’s not many),after filling in a detailed claim form. Thousands of Caymanians are on permanent assistance including accomodation, food allowance and utilities, not to mention all the seamen and the vets, some of whom do not need their automatic cash payouts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems like you have given a comprehensive list of why we can’t afford to feed poor out of work expats as well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Seems like CIG have taken the long weekend off. Meanwhile we submitted our construction site list of staff on Friday and have not heard a peep back. Are we just to open site tomorrow or wait to get tested? Some kind of press release would be good. Gong Show?!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is there a list of these construction companies and sites that are being approved for next week?

    • Anonymous says:

      There does not need to be. As long as a company is a construction company which can perform the work specified in the regulations then it can operate.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Now is the time to finally rethink traffic design and deliver proper bike lanes. First phase should be regulations of 3 ft width in the Traffic Law, Then measure and paint a West Bay Road dedicated bike lane running from public beach roundabout down to South Church Street with rumble barriers. London, New York and other cities are doing this to encourage distancing, reduce reliance on cars and improve health. It also creates some jobs.

    • A rather Pedestrian says:

      I am for anything that gets the bikers off the sidewalks. During this period of social distancing in particular I am tired of being told to move over on a sidewalk so they can pass because they refuse to follow the law and ride on the street.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      How about pedestrian sidewalks long overdue! And NO SEGWAYS!

      • Roger Davies says:

        For the life of me I cannot understand why tourists pay to ride Segways along the sidewalk on the busy West Bay Rd, with constant interruptions for traffic accessing the hotels and condos. I can only assume the trips have been missold as beachside. Madness!.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, pubic health is extremely important at this time. I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of that fact. Now to find a salon.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What are the 65 sites that are opening up ? Is there a list anywhere?

  8. Anonymous says:

    So Mom & Pop stores are being destroyed while Big Box stores boom. Sorry middle class, this is your end. 6 foot distancing is a hoax and doesn’t protect anyone from anything except maybe STDs.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Mom & Pop” convenience stores have had approval to open for days. As long as they applied the stated requirements. Have you not been paying close attention?

      • Anonymous says:

        Hilarious comments, covid has not even started… and people are already thinking things will be as they have been or that u can reinvent the past cash flows overnight with some pipedream of only attracting high income individuals. The world is reevaluating, cayman is regressing.

  9. Ah boy says:

    Doesnt matter…We soon wake up and hate false doctrines and elite propoganda island wide thanks to this covid nuissance they created and couldnt manage… like most things

    • Anonymous says:

      The skeletons are coming out. How many of these employees do not have health insurance or pensions? How many are unlawfully living in substandard housing at crowding levels that make social distancing impossible? How many do not have the means to buy a ticket home, even if they wanted to? How many fully employed expatriates are now relying on charity for support? How many unemployed Caymanians could be doing this work, and want to? How much of our poverty is actually imported?

      • Anonymous says:

        A lot of our poverty is imported and also getting benefits like housing, utilities paid for by NAU TOO. Shame and disgrace to say the least and its a lot here now can’t pay their rents and shacking up with others of their nationality and calling us Caymanians to borrow money . Seems like no flights can be arranged To YARD or Phillipines as yet even though their countries are taking in their nationals till May 31.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m getting calls too, but only helping those that have been good to me. Karma right?

        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          Proof, please. If you know it to state it as a fact, then you can post something that allows us to see the proof of your statements also. This is a narrative that is touted far too often; if this condition really exists, I want to know it and to fight it and prepare a gentle landing place which was previously occupied by expats for native Caymanians.

          Maybe next time you should say “I believe” or “I think” or even “I heard” to indicate that your post is not an established fact.

        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          I want to point out that I want people to be helped in these troubled times. Anyone that needs help, regardless of status or country of origin. What I was challenging you about is your assertation that poverty has been imported. I don’t see it, and I think you should provide evidence.

          • Anonymous says:

            Ask the NAU. Ask anyone brought to live in Cayman at $6.00 an hour, especially 2 months after they were last paid!

            • Anonymous says:

              You’re still not getting what Beaumont is saying with stating facts. If you raise a point you should also provide the facts to back it up. One should not have to “ask” some other sources to prove your statement.

              • Anonymous says:

                None are so blind as those who will not see. LOOK!

                • Anonymous says:

                  I agree with 2.55 some people EXPATS MOSTLY are not looking around and only see and say what they want to for their benefits
                  We are importing labor from countries of poverty and adding to human exploitation. so how come they do not SEE that IT is very obvious Open your eyes and be honest to yourself and others

                • Anonymous says:

                  Aw boi…’re still not understanding the point about using facts to support statements. I cannot “see” what’s happening because I do not have intimate knowledge of every expats circumstance in their homeland nor in Cayman. Hence, it’s unwise to make assumptions.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    If you cannot see it, you are under a rock and cannot be helped.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Making assumptions is what these kind of people do. It is the only way to make their point. Ignore them. Everyone else does.

            • Anonymous says:

              Well some manage to live, send funds home, and save for a return ticket. Go figure.

              • Spoken truth says:

                Well that’s easily done w/ up to 10 to a 2 bdrm apt. I work 5+ years in Residential Property Management, and I don’t have to ask NAU. And trust me if they could’ve gone to NAU long before this Coronavirus, they would’ve gone to get at least housing assistance and still live under this overcrowded conditions to send more money home!!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Most of your poverty is local. Easy to see with your own eyes. Impossible to get rid of. I understand not wanting it to be so but blaming it on expats just makes Caymanians like you look desperate..

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