Monday 6 July, 2020

Cayman's next challenge is reopening without 2nd COVID-19 wave

Health Minister, John Seymour has highlighted Cayman's record of no community-acquired deaths, stressing it's a record “we intend to keep”.

The Health Minister was speaking at yesterday's live national COVID-19 address about the need to safeguard against any possible second coronavirus wave as the islands move to re-enter the workplace and re-open the economy.

Calling for the support of the business community and the public, he said: "We need your help, we need this to be an entire community effort – it is imperative that we all understand that we will not be able to simply jump right back into life as it was before COVID-19."

Referring to the hundreds of thousands of deaths across the world, he said: "With that perspective it is a blessing to be able to say that in the Cayman Islands we have had no community acquired deaths – this is a wonderful record we intend to keep.

"However, the next challenge for many other countries including our own is how to re-open parts of the economy without prompting a dangerous 'second wave' - something parts of Asia are now having to deal with.

"It is important to note that countries who were once applauded for being a first mover are now also amongst those suffering from second waves. We all want to rebuild, re-open and restart the economy, but we must not return to a lockdown situation as we have witnessed in other countries, where by opening too quickly, too soon caused a second wave of increased numbers of cases and caused more loss of revenues for businesses and government.

"And even though we want to see families and friends together again, for example at restaurants, at retail stores or going on staycations; we must remain vigilant. We cannot become complacent; we must follow the guidelines painstakingly put together by our medical experts, policy advisors, and by Cabinet."

The Minister said that, going forward, we must accept a 'new normal' - and that includes the continued use of physical distancing, mask wearing, proper sneezing and coughing hygiene, proper handwashing hygiene, the use of hand sanitizers, and the continued sanitizing of groceries.

All this not only to ward off the novel coronavirus, but other possible communicable diseases.

Minister Seymour added: "As Minister of Health I am encouraging business owners or employers to put in place internal company policies which encourage physical distancing of the prescribed six feet inside their properties and guidelines that require employees, and customers to wash their hands and to cover coughs and sneezes through use of masks in any shared space.

"Employers will need to consider how to manage safely the process of returning employees to the workplace. I dare say, it is the responsibility of all business owners to take time to educate and train staff on health and safety measures to reopen their businesses."

Here are seven steps to ensure your business follows the government’s Health and Safety Measures in preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment
  2. Employ a Health monitoring and safety management system 
  3. Reduce physical interaction and ensure safe distancing
  4. Ensure safe distancing while using shared transportation
  5. Provide PPE and encourage Good Personal Hygiene
  6. Ensure cleanliness of workplace premises
  7. Perform health checks and implement protocols to manage potential cases

You can find the detailed guidance on the government website www.gov.ky/coronavirus.

The Minister concluded: "I am urging employers, for the health and safety of employees and customers, to ensure workspaces are routinely sanitized; and to continue using video chats or other technological advances that have made it easier to meet virtually and put less people at risk of contracting the virus.

"Employers, I am also asking that for the foreseeable future, you consider keeping in place a work-from-home status of any staff who can do so."
All employers can find the Health and Safety Measures Guidance as well as other resources for re-opening their business here

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