Sports and exercise restrictions easing, but contact sports still banned

Cayman Sports Buzz editor Ben Meade is among those eager to get back on the tennis court.

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts across the Cayman Islands are starting to breathe a sigh of relief, following the government’s decision to start removing restrictions prohibiting some sports.

Premier Alden McLaughlin made the announcement at a press conference to update the country on measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Friday, 29 May. The Cayman Islands remains in “moderate suppression” of the virus, the third of a five-phase reopening plan that would see the “all clear” given at level one. There are currently 72 active cases locally, with 71 of those patients displaying no symptoms.

Mr McLaughlin announced that effective Monday, 1 June, “persons will be able to exercise in any public place, including government walking tracks, which will reopen. Also, persons will be able to engage in open-air, non-contact sports. That still means no football and the like”.

Sports such as tennis and golfing were specifically mentioned as being okay to resume but with the caveat of no more than two people engaging in such activity together at a time and social distancing of six feet or two metres.  

Along with contact sports, other indoor sports like squash are not yet allowed to resume.

For the past several weeks, walking, running and cycling on the road with members of your household were the only sporting activities permitted away from the home.

Restrictions on swimming at beaches were lifted last week, although people have been restricted to do so based on an alphabetical system with surnames ending A-K permitted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and surnames ending L-Z on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. No beach access is currently permitted on Sunday.

Mr McLaughlin further announced that come Monday, 7 June, the number of people not from the same household who will be permitted to exercise or play non-contact sports together will increase to six.

“In relation to exercise, a person will be able on and after 7th June to exercise with five other persons who are not members of the person’s household up for no more than 2 hours per day, between the hours of 4:45 am and 9:00 pm. This includes engaging in open-air non-contact sports,” the Premier said, adding this was also subject to any conditions which may be imposed by the Competent Authority, and that social distancing of six feet or two metres would still need to be maintained.

Also, from 7 June, persons will be able to exercise on a beach, swim in the sea and fish from the shoreline on any day. Persons must however continue to observe the social distance requirements when exercising.

Indicating that there is “the promise of a soon-coming day when life can go back to some real semblance of normalcy”, Mr McLaughlin said if the trend continues as it has been with relatively low negative results from widespread testing, it is likely that by 22 June Cayman would reach level two of “minimal suppression”.

“Along the careful reopening of the country while maintaining physical distancing requirement, we will also continue our testing and will continue to carefully monitor the spread of the virus in the community to ensure the community transmission continues to be low,” he said.

It is not yet clear when the green light would be given for a resumption of all sports that came to a stop in March. However, a reasonable expectation would be that would be around the time of the “all clear”.

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