Sunday 31 May, 2020

Attorney General shares new COVID-19 regulations: March 28

Attorney General, Hon. Samuel Bulgin has outlined the new Shelter in Place procedures that will govern new, softer curfew provisions announced by Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin.

The new provisions are titled The Public Health (Prevention, Control and Suppression of COVID-19) Regulations, 2020.

The Attorney General has noted the following items:

 

•           Gatherings, parties and events such as conferences and concerts involving more than two persons are not allowed.

•           From 5 am Saturday, March 28 2020 for a period of 10 Days, the shelter in place order is in effect and applies to all three Cayman Islands; this might be extended if deemed necessary.

•           Although movement will be allowed for essential purposes, shelter at home still requires everyone to remain at home, or in their yard space.

•           Breaches, upon conviction, will attract a $1,000 fine and imprisonment of six months.

•           However, Government recognises that individuals need access to essential services, and that essential operations across the Islands must continue to function.  Therefore the new regulations allows for necessary exemptions to the Shelter in Place requirement.

The Attorney General explained that the exemptions are broken down into categories A, B and C.

•           Category A outlines “essential service providers or persons who are designated to carry out certain activities or duties only when acting in the course of their duties.” These include police officers and other law enforcement personnel, sanitation workers, utility, banks, supermarkets, health care workers, media personnel, water and cooking gas delivery personnel, taxi drivers, security services personnel and food deliverers who specifically have a time limit of up to 9 pm. Also persons picking up takeaway food may do so until 6 pm.

•           Category B covers exemptions for individuals exercising or walking their dogs for a maximum of 1.5 hours, provided they can maintain a distance of six feet from another person. Public or private strata pools or gyms cannot be used.

           Category C provides for restrictions on other activities and operations such as holding strata pool parties or sailing on pleasure boats.

Also exempt are electricians, plumbers or roof repairers who have to perform urgent repairs at clients’ places of residence.

Wedding ceremonies should have 10 persons other than the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses and the marriage officer. Funerals should have no more than 10 members of the immediate family, six pallbearers, at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff.

The Attorney General emphasised that even essential staff are allowed to be out and about only to perform their duties; they cannot generally be out and about for their private reasons.

The full list is given below

Category A – Essential services providers or persons who are designated to carry out certain activities or duties, only when acting in the course of their duties. 

These are as follows: 

•           police officers, customs and border control officers, officers of the Fire Brigade and prison officers;

•           persons involved in essential services delivery, in the form of child protection and residential care, in the Department of Children and Family Services; 

•           waste and sanitation workers;

•           staff within a health care facility, or persons delivering emergency medical services; 

•           essential officers of any water, electricity or other sector encompassing the provision of electronic communications including print and electronic media;  persons employed to physically deliver water to premises;

•           a person who provides care to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability;

•           persons who operate taxis for hire, PROVIDED that there are no more than 2 passengers in the taxi at any one time so that each passenger is able to distance himself or herself as far as possible from the other passenger and the driver;

•           persons involved in agriculture and food production;

•           persons engaged in the delivery of propane or cooking gas;

•           persons engaged in the provision of emergency veterinary services;

•           persons engaged in the exercise of Cabinet, parliamentary or judicial duties;

•           services connected with the loading and unloading of cargo ships, and with the storage and delivery of goods;

•           persons employed by a business licensed to provide security guard services; 

•           persons employed by restaurants to provide food delivery services, until no later than 9:00 pm;

•           persons employed by businesses other than restaurants to provide food or grocery delivery services, until no later than 9:00 pm;

•           persons who travel to restaurants which provide take-away or curbside take-away food service, for the purposes of collecting food, until no later than 6:00 pm; 

•           civil servants as designated by the Portfolio of the Civil Service;

•           charities and other persons engaged in the delivery of food or groceries, as designated by the Competent Authority;

•           persons who have to undertake essential travel to any of the following 5 types of facilities:

i)          health-care facilities for emergency purposes;

ii)         supermarkets, convenience stores, mini-marts and pharmacies between the hours of 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Convenience stores and mini-marts will also be  subject to the further restriction of no more than six customers inside at any given time;

iii) retail banks, credit unions and building societies between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.;

(iv) gas or refilling stations between the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; or 

(v)  such other public places as may be specified by the Competent Authority (that is, the Ministry of International Trade).  Businesses wishing to apply for an exemption under one of the appropriate categories should email curfewtime@gov.ky.  

Also exempt are: 

•           members of an essential service or an essential services provider designated by the Ministry of International Trade after consultation with the Hazard Management Department of the Cayman Islands, for the purposes of performing their employment duties; and 

•           other persons involved in other businesses that are designated.

Category B – Exercise or pet walking

Persons may also leave their places of abode or residence for no more than 1 ½ hours per day to engage in exercise in a public place or to walk their pet, PROVIDED that they maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or 2 meters from another person.

The public is reminded, however, that even though exercise and pet-walking are allowed, persons are still not allowed to go to public gyms or pools, or private strata gyms or pools. 

Category C – Restrictions on other activities and operations

Activities such as: 

i.          having private parties, which include persons from outside the immediate household of the house occupant (and this includes parties held in or around a private strata pool; and 

ii.          hiring, or travelling on a boat sailing inter-island (otherwise than for transport of freight),  are NOT allowed.  

However, persons involved in the following activities will be exempt from the Shelter in Place requirement:

1.         Persons who have to perform urgent home plumbing, electrical or roof repairs (for example, answering an emergency call for such services);

2.         Persons who host or attend a wedding which has NO MORE than 10 persons other than the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses and the marriage officer; and 

3.         Persons who host or attend a funeral which has NO MORE than 10 members of the immediate family, six pallbearers, at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff. 

Conclusion

Persons are reminded to practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet or 2 meters from any other person, no matter where they are. It is only in so doing that they can reduce the further spread of this virus. 

Persons are also reminded that with the exception of those that are exempted, all establishments, institutions, businesses, organizations and offices shall be closed but, if the employers so require, their employees shall work remotely from home.

As a reminder to all persons employed within the public service, unless they are specifically designated as an essential worker, they must work remotely from home. 

The public is reminded that during this time, for the purposes of ensuring persons abide with the Shelter in Place requirements, a police officer may require a person to answer any questions to enable the police officer to ascertain who the person is and whether he or she is an exempted person. 

Where the person does not satisfy the police officer that the person falls within the exempted categories, the police officer may direct the person to go immediately to the person’s place of abode or place of residence.  

 A police officer may also use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of this power.

However, it will not fall to the Police alone to enforce the Regulations. Indeed, the Government expects that this will be largely an honour system whereby persons appreciate the imperatives involved, act responsibly and exercise good judgment. 

For viewing the full regulations, http://www.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12940549.PDF.

 

Sidebar: A sample of the letter that is provided by the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs official to employers in relation to their exempted employees is given below.

“I am writing to inform you that your organisation has met the requirement for 1 of our 10 categories for curfew exemption. 

Your organisation is therefore exempt from Curfew imposed pursuant to the section 49(1) of the Police Law (2014 Revision) to specifically combat the COVID-19 pandemic threat. 

This exemption grants freedom of movement for critical staff to perform essential work duties during the hours of 5am and 7pm that a curfew has been imposed in the event of an emergency.

If stopped by law enforcement during curfew hours, the Essential Staff Member is required to comply with law enforcement instructions and to present this letter, along with a letter from you naming the staff member as essential and company or government issued identification.

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact CurfewTime@gov.ky

 

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