#TurksandCaicos, February 9, 2021 – Service with a smile, covered by a mask and no longer in the comfort of your favorite hang-out, all of these entities are forced to not only close up by 5 p.m. today but to serve you outside or ‘curbside’ in a new raft of rules aimed at stunting the new case count of Covid-19.
“There will be a night time curfew on all islands, from 6 p.m. in the evening to 6 a.m. in the morning; no exceptions. All businesses to be closed at 5 p.m. and you have one hour to return to your residence. Bars and restaurants are only allowed to serve curbside or takeaway; food or drinks,” said Edwin Astwood, the Minister of Health, during a national press conference held on Monday (February 8).
The new Public Health Regulations take effect tonight and for the next seven days Turks and Caicos has to do it differently after a record setting surge in coronavirus cases during January.
The Minister explained: “After evaluating these measures, we will see if we have to roll back or increase the measures.”
Thousands of islanders were tuned in online and locked into radio to hear the new restrictions, which mark the third raft of rules to be rolled out in 2021.
“With the increases we are seeing we have to break the mode of transmission and one of the ways of doing that is limiting the interaction that persons may have with each other and certain measures we will putting into place to try and break that transmission,” was explained as the reasoning for the dramatically early curfew and stringent new regulations.
While some businesses have adjusted their operating hours to continue essential services to the general public; others have decided to close for the week.
Boat operators get a slight reprieve in the new restrictions. The operators are now permitted to serve larger ‘family’ groups due to a tweak of regulation which, over the previous 14-days had limited passengers to six.
Reports are the measure of January 26-February 10 was a killer to the industry’s 100 boat operators.
The Minister had an update: “Restrictions on no more than six persons outside the same household on all pleasure craft used for excursions. If there are ten persons from the same household, that will be allowed but if I want to take a pleasure cruise with my friends, there would only be six of us allowed.”
Hotel and other essential workers will have an exemption; it enables them to move to and from work during the curfew hours without facing fines or tickets, explained the Health Minister.
“Hotel restaurants will continue to be open for persons in the hotel; that is for their guests. We have the bubbles in the hotels for their workers and the guests of the hotels.”
Airport workers, including staff from the private FBOs will fall within the essential workers category and will be exempt from the curfew rules and penalties, as well.
There continues to be a ban on parties and social gatherings.
“The extension on the complete ban of public or private gatherings or social activities of any description on all islands, including beaches, that is until Tuesday 16 February 2021,” he said from the press conference held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales.
A 20 person allowance for individuals attending church, weddings or funerals is extended; this rule applies whether the events are indoors or outdoors.
“We all know the activities we are targeting here,” said Minister Astwood who shared, “The measures will be evaluated and adjustments will be made, either up or down. If it slackens; will depend on you. How well we do with(in) this next week. If it is tightened, it also depends on you (that is) how bad we do this week. So it is all in our hands. These measures are in our hands.”
Turks and Caicos up to the time of the press conference had 363 active cases of the coronavirus; 52 percent of which were female and 46 percent male.
CAPTION: Liquor served on the sidewalk in Pennsylvania due to takeaway and curbside only regulations
Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.
The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.
The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year. In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.
In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
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