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4 minute read

Calculating The Risk: Talking About Risk With Loved Ones

Cayman Islands Government
Published: November 20 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.


1. Start A Non-Judgmental Conversation

When talking about the steps you and your household are taking to avoid the transmission of COVID-19 it is important to make sure your loved ones do not feel judged.

The level that you are comfortable with, in terms of activities, may not be the same level that your loved ones are comfortable with. Whether they are staying in or going out, it in important that you clearly communicate how you feel comfortable and what you will and will not do.

You can have this conversation over the phone or through video calls before you even see your loved ones in person. In this way, you prepare and set boundaries.

Remember, your loved ones love you and so they, most often, will want to make you feel comfortable and safe.


2. Know The Risk Factors

We understand that life is not a zero-risk pursuit, and that may or may not choose to participate in activities that you determine to be a risk. 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 household 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.

You can learn more about the various levels of risk involved in different activities HERE.


4. Define Your Comfort Zone

Some people will be comfortable with dining inside restaurants and using indoor gyms. Others may only be comfortable dining outside or taking part in outdoor activities with loved ones. Yet more people may choose to stay home to limit their exposure to potential spread of COVID-19.

Your comfort zone is exactly that -- it is yours.

It is up to you to define your comfort zone. You may determine that you have a low appetite for high risk activities because you are in a vulnerable health group (e.g. you are pregnant or immuno-commpromised). Or you may determine that you are comfortable with all activities but you wish to limit the frequency of them to reduce the risk.

Once you have defined your comfort zone, make sure you communicate this with your household and anyone you think you might see before you see them. In this way people will understand that you are not being rude.

You may choose to write down your comfort zone level and dos and don'ts for others if this helps them to better understand.


3. Reduce The Risk

Wearing masks or face coverings and observing social distancing helps to reduce the risk of public activities, especially indoors.

In most indoor public places it is the law in the Cayman Islands that anyone over the age of 2 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.

Combining these practices with frequently washing your hands and observing hygiene measures helps to ensure that we can reduce the risk of activities.


4. Don't Panic

If somebody you know or love takes you out of your comfort zone, or ignores a rule, you do not have to panic. All is not lost for you.

If you are taken off guard -- perhaps a friend or loved one unexpectedly hugs you or shares food with you -- there are procedures you can follow to reduce risk.

For example if you have been unexpectedly hugged:

  1. Politely remind your loved one of your comfort zone. (for example, say 'I don't hug right now')
  2. Keep your hands away from your face.
  3. Minimize the duration of the hug or exposure. The longer you are close to somebody else's face the higher the risk.
  4. Excuse yourself and wash your hands with soap.
  5. When you are at home, wash your clothes and take a shower.
  6. If you feel unwell in the following days, take our online assessment tool or contact your GP to arrange a test for COVID-19.

You can read more about greetings during COVID-19 here.




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


Tags: Guidance