It's been two weeks since our last COVID-19 press briefing and the Premier McLaughlin is happy to report that we've continued with our steady progress and are on track with our testing regime.
"I'm also very pleased that during these last two weeks we've only had two positive results reported, and both are asymptomatic," said the Premier.
This progress is thanks to all of you who have continued to play your part in maintaining social distance, continued to wash your hands and wear your masks or cloth face coverings when out in public places.
As you're aware we have been waiting at least 2 weeks between reopening phases to see what the effects has on our community.
Thankfully, we are in a very good place and I'm comfortable moving forward with the easing of more of the regulations.
These changes will come into effect on Sunday 19th July:
From Sunday 19th July "Public meetings" will increase from 25 persons up to 50 persons.
Managers or operators of a restaurant or bar may permit customers to engage in dancing and karaoke at a restaurant or bar subject to social distancing.
Nightclubs will be permitted to open subject to physical distancing.
Sheesha or water pipes (Hookah pipes) are prohibited, given the public health risks of COVID-19 transmission associated with these and other like devices.
Weddings can from Sunday have up to 50 persons in attendance other than the bride, bridegroom, official witness and the marriage officer.
Funerals can also now have up to 50 persons in attendance other than the 6 pallbearers and essential mortuary staff and officiants.
Persons will be able to visit residential care home facilities for example the Pines, providing they have had a negative PCR test within three days of visiting. We know residents of these homes are high risk so please maintain social distancing, wash your hands and practice respiratory protocols.
Contact sports will be permitted from Sunday. Players and spectators will be treated as two separate groups because they inhabit two separate spaces, so you will be able to have up to 50 participants playing the sport and up to 50 spectators providing those spectators maintain social distance.
We have taken advice from the Chief Medical Officer regarding the rental of scuba and snorkelling equipment and he maintains that there are public health risks associated with the rental of this type of equipment and so there are no changes to the regulations at this time.
Persons who wish to travel by air between the Islands will now be able to do so without having to take a test providing they have been in the Cayman Islands for more than two weeks.
Commercial boats will be able to carry up to 50% of their licensed capacity not exceeding 50 people, providing social distancing is maintained.
Gathering of boats will be able to take place with up to 50 persons.
Persons will be permitted to travel between the islands by boat for pleasure from Sunday.
Only operators of commercial boats who have a Wildlife Interaction Zone (WIZ) license are permitted to access Stingray City and the Sandbar.
Access to Starfish Point and Rum Point remains prohibited for all vessels.
A long standing concern in the community has been the way these areas of natural beauty have been managed. Government is taking this opportunity to consult with the Department of Environment as well as the Coastguard and Department of Commerce and Investment and will give us the opportunity to improve the management of these areas to provide a better experience for wildlife, residents of the area and visitors.
These regulations will remain in effect until 31 August 2020.
I am pleased to announce that the Cayman Islands Centre for Business Development will open its doors to walk-in clients early next month.
Since the launch of the Government's relief measures for businesses in April (which is being managed by the Centre), 1,085 applications have been received under the micro and small business grant programme.
$1,592,000 have so far been paid to applicants with a further three hundred and eighty-six thousand ($386,000) approved for payment under this grant programme.
Of the 1085 applications, 84% have been processed, with 347 business owners so far receiving full payment of $3,000.00.
Based on the number of approved applications, the total funds so far committed by government are $ 3.147 million. The programme currently has a 97% application approval rate.
Seventy-three (73) applications with a total value $2,451,759 have been received under the low interest loan programme.
Eleven of these have so far been approved, with another seven currently being assessed for approval. The total value of loans at the approval stage is $615,000.
For the benefit of those applicants who are unable to adequately present their financials to the bank, the government has also implemented a technical assistance programme where qualified accountants have been employed to help prepare these documents at no cost to the small business owners.
So far, they have prepared financial statements and business plans for 42 loan applicants.
Quote of the Day
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.