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5 minute read

Calculating The Risk: Socialising During COVID-19

Cayman Islands Government
Published: November 21 2021
Last Updated: December 1, 2021

When it comes to reducing the risk of community spread of the virus known as COVID-19, it's important to know the risks and what you feel comfortable with.

If your friends and family know the steps you are taking, and what you are comfortable with, you can help to ensure that your risk of exposure is lowered.

At All Times

There are certain rules in the Cayman Islands that apply no matter the risk of the activity. These are:

  • In most indoor public places it is the law that anyone over five years old wears a mask or face covering. Face shields are not considered to be face coverings.
  • Social distancing (keeping six feet from other people in different households) is also the law.

Remember, if you are uncomfortable in a situation or environment outside of your house, you can always leave. You are not required to stay somewhere that makes you uncomfortable and that you believe places you at risk when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

Workplaces are strongly encouraged to be flexible, and to offer remote working options to people who are vulnerable (for example pregnant or suffering from respiratory conditions).

Looking At The Risks

Remember: activities can be more or less risky depending on where you are, when and with who.

Higher Risk

Generally activities that are indoors and for prolonged periods of time with larger numbers of people and different households are higher risk.

When taking part in these you still need to wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid touching  your face and stay six feet from other households. Where possible, open windows to improve ventilation. 

Try to avoid these particularly if you are in a high-risk group (i.e you are immuno-compromised, 70+, pregnant, or suffer from a respiratory condition).

These can include:

  • Air travel:  While every precaution is taken to minimise risks on flights, air circulation and density of people as well as duration place air travel in a higher risk category.
  • Drinking or eating indoors at a bar or restaurant: When eating indoors at a restaurant or bar you are required to wear a mask unless seated at a table. Staff at required to wear masks at all times. You should not share food with anyone outside of your household.
  • Visiting households and/or dining at other houses: Social distancing is recommended even when you are visiting friends or family. Stay six feet away from your visitors. Where possible, stay outdoors. If you cannot be outside, consider opening a window to improve ventilation. Do not share food or surfaces like chairs.
  • Indoors at a gym: Gyms tend to be places where there is a lot of sweat in a people-dense environment. These are considered higher risk because sweat can spread viruses. When going to a gym, maintain six feet of distance from other people. Avoid sharing surfaces and items like weights. Sanitize your area before and after use. All gyms should have cleaning protocols and systems that they are able to detail to you that protect their users. Some gyms may check your temperature and general health before entering. All gyms are required to ask you for a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test.

 

Medium Risk

Medium risk activities tend to be outdoors but with gatherings of people. When taking part in these you still need to wash your hands, avoid touching your face and stay six feet from other households.

Avoid sharing food, toys and surfaces like seating even when you are outdoors. COVID-19 can be spread via contact with surfaces.

In some outdoors settings (for example in restaurants when not seated at a table) you need to wear masks.

Examples of medium risk activities include:

  • Grocery Shopping: While this activity is in a spaced environment, it is indoors with large numbers of other people. You must wear a mask or face covering when in a supermarket or shop.
  • Eating at a restaurant or bar outside: While this activity is outside, it is with a large number of other people. You must wear a mask when not sitting at a table. If you are a member of staff, you must wear a mask or face covering at all times.
  • Staycations: Staying anywhere that is not your home is a risk. Staycations in locations that are not normally used as a house are considered medium risk. Most vendors will have cleaning protocols they can detail to you that protect their customers from potential spread. When indoors and in public places that are not your hotel room in a hotel you must wear a mask (for example, in the lobby).
  • Using a playground for 1 hour or less: While this activity is outside, playground are shared spaces. Avoid using these for longer than 1 hour, avoid sharing surfaces, and make sure to sanitise and wash hands before and after use.

 

Low Risk

Low risk activities tend to be outdoors. When taking part in these you still need to wash your hands, avoid touching your face and stay six feet from other households. If you avoid sharing surfaces like benches or playground swings you further reduce risk.

In some outdoors settings (e.g. restaurants) you need to wear masks.

Examples of low-risk activities include:

  • Non-contact sports: Sports such as tennis and golf are lower risk because of the ability to space people out. There is still some risk if you play sports with other households. Avoiding sharing anything and keep six feet apart or more.
  • Exercise alone or with your own household: This is considered low risk because you are exercising with your own household or alone outdoors. Running and walking in this group are good ways to exercise.
  • Restaurant pick-up or takeaway: When you pick up food there is still some interaction with people outside of your household, and they have also touched your food containers so this is not a zero-risk activity. The risk is fairly low, however, as you are eating in your own home.
  • Receiving mail: In the Cayman Islands, incoming mail is sanitised before it reaches you. This is a low-risk activity.

 

Lowest Risk

Home, alone or with household: staying home with your household is still the lowest risk activity you can take part in.

By only allowing the people you live with into your home you reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

 

Risk Factors

We understand that life is not a zero-risk pursuit, and that may or may not choose to participate in the above activities.

When it comes to choosing what to do, there are a number of factors you can consider that may help you to determine what and how frequently you wish to carry activities out.

These include:

 

  • Number of people: The more people who are together, the wider the potential spread of COVID-19 and the more risk you have of contracting the virus. This is why public gathering limits have been created.
  • Density of people: The closer people are together the higher the risk of spread. If you are in close contact with any people outside of your household the risk increases (for example, contact sports).
  • Spacing: The more spaced out people are the lower the risk. This is why social distancing is a legal requirement. We know that if you are in close contact (closer than six feet) with another person for more than 15 minutes, you are highly likely to contract COVID-19 if they have the virus. This is why different households should stay six feet apart. 
  • Frequency: The frequency with which you perform the activities above is another risk factor. If you're worried about reducing risk, you could limit the number of times you perform activities in a week.

 

Questions

If you have further questions relating to the rules or transmission of COVID-19 or testing, visit our FAQs.

 

Tags: Guidance, Community