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8 minute read

Wearing Masks & Face Coverings In The Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands Government
Published: April 6 2020
Last Updated: January 18, 2021

People above the ages of ten years in the Cayman Islands may or may not wear homemade masks or face coverings from Friday, 2 October 2020.

Consider wearing a mask if you are in a vulnerable group or visiting with the elderly and vulnerable.

If you are indoors a public place and wish to wear a mask or cloth face covering, you cannot be denied entry by the owner or operator. 

You are legally required to wear homemade masks or face coverings in:

  • health care facilities
  • residential home care facilities
  • prisons or places of detention
  • airports
  • taxis or omnibuses
  • any other place specified by the Medical Officer of Health

When receiving a COVID-19 vaccine you must wear a mask or face covering. Read more here.

You can read more on the policies here.

Homemade masks or face coverings can be useful when acting as a partial barrier to stop droplet spread of the virus responsible for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). That said, we must be cautious when considering using them as protection against the transmission of COVID-19 cannot be guaranteed.

If you choose to wear a face covering or mask in the Cayman Islands, below is some advice. Click the links below or scroll down to read more


Table Of Contents

  1. Should I Wear A Mask?
  2. Preventative Measures
  3. The Global Shortage Of Masks
  4. When You Can Wear A Mask
  5. Where Can I Get A Mask?
  6. Homemade Masks
  7. Limitations Of Homemade Masks
  8. How To Wear A Mask
  9. How To Clean A Mask
  10. What's the difference between a mask and a face shield?
  11. What is the policy for the use of masks in health care settings?
  12. The Most Important Thing To Remember
  13. More Questions?

578408508_CIG_Coronavirus_MasksInfo_Social_DoI_FB PostShould I Wear A Mask?

Homemade masks or face coverings may or may not in enclosed spaces outside of your own home.

If you are indoors a public place and wish to wear a mask or cloth face covering, you cannot be denied entry by the owner or operator. 

You are legally required to wear homemade masks or face coverings in places such as:

  • health care facilities
  • residential home care facilities
  • prisons or places of detention
  • airports
  • taxis or omnibuses
  • any other place specified by the Medical Officer of Health


What The Shortage of Masks Means

There is a global shortage of medical grade masks. This means both surgical masks and N95 masks are in extremely short supply around the world.

Because of this shortage surgical masks and N95 masks should be saved for the following people:

  • medical professionals
  • those who are sick and showing symptoms

In allowing those who are sick and showing symptoms and medical professionals first access to both surgical and N95 masks we can help to protect our community - especially the elderly and vulnerable - and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands.


When To Wear A Mask

Because of the global shortage of surgical masks and N95 masks, we need to save masks for medical professionals and those who are sick and showing symptoms.

If you are not showing symptoms and are not a medical professional you are asked to wait until surgical masks or N95 masks are in more plentiful supply before using them.


Where Can I Get A Mask?

As of Friday, 22 May, 24,000 reusable cloth masks have been distributed in the Cayman Islands by the Community Policing Branch of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). The RCIPS continue to distribute a further 41,000 masks door-to-door across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman

Masks are also being provided to frontline workers such as people in RCIPS, Customs & Border Control, Cayman Islands Airports Authority, Water Authority, and more.

578408508_CIG_Coronavirus_MasksInfo_Social_CanI_FB Post (1)Can I Make My Own Mask?

Homemade masks can be used in public spaces to reduce the potential for droplet spread, which is the way COVID-19 is transmitted. We ask that residents remain considerate of the limitations of homemade masks.

Should you choose to make your own, the following website is a good starting point and provides advice on care and handling of homemade masks.

Click Here


The Limitations Of Homemade Masks

Homemade masks are not medical devices. They are not regulated. 

Where medical masks and respirators conform to certain standards depending on their application, homemade masks do not.

Because of this, homemade masks cannot be guaranteed to prevent all droplet spread if you come in contact with someone showing respiratory symptoms.

The limitations of homemade masks include:

  • they have not been tested to recognised standards
  • they are not likely to provide protection against virus-sized particles
  • the edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth
  • the fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators
  • they can be difficult to breathe through
  • they may require frequent adjustment, increasing the amount of times your hands come into contact with your face and increasing the probability of infection.

Avoid wearing Masks with Exhalation Valves or Vents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated guidance on the use of masks with exhalation valves or vents.


These masks, which are often worn to stop environmental pollutants from coming into the mask, can do more harm than good when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19. The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. In other words, an infected person can release particles into the surrounding area, therefore transmitting COVID-19 to others.

Therefore, Ministry of Health does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.

578408508_CIG_Coronavirus_MasksInfo_Social_How_FB Post (1)How To Wear A Mask

We understand that wearing a mask or face covering will be an adjustment for most people  — it's not something we do normally. Here are some tips on how to wear a mask if you choose to do so:

  • the mask or face covering should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • you should be able to breathe through the mask or face covering although it may feel a little warm
  • the mask or face covering should be secured above your nose and mouth (if the mask does not cover your nose and mouth it cannot protect from droplet spread
  • you should avoid touching the mask or face covering and instead remove and secure it using the elastic or ties
  • place the mask or face covering on a clean surface that you will later disinfect, do not place it on somewhere like a kitchen counter as this will contaminate it



How To Clean Your Mask

Cleaning your mask or face covering is vital if you choose to wear one. We know that COVID-19 can survive on multiple surfaces for a while, so it's important that your mask or face covering is cleaned before you wear it.

When you return home from being out in a public space, if you have worn a mask, wash your mask like you would wash clothes. Hot water helps destroy the virus before you use it again.


What's the Difference Between a Face Mask and a Face shield?

A face mask is worn over the nose and mouth and protects the airways. A face shield is essentially eye protection, extended down over the face. Face shields offer protection against splashes and droplets landing on the face but does not protect the airways. 


What is the Guidance for the Use of Masks in Health Care Settings?

As per the recent interim guidance by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Ministry of Health advises the public and health workers of the new updates regarding the use of masks in health care settings (including long-term and residential facilities).

Note: Health workers are all people primarily engaged in actions with the primary intent of
enhancing health. Examples are: Nursing and midwifery professionals, doctors, cleaners, other staff who work in health facilities, social workers, community health workers, etc.

In the absence of Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs):

  • Health workers providing direct care to COVID-19 patients should wear a medical mask (in addition to other PPE that are part of droplet and contact precautions).
In care settings for COVID-19 patients where AGPs are performed (e.g. COVID-19
intensive and semi-intensive care units):
  • Health workers should wear a respirator (N95 or FFP2 or FFP3 standard or equivalent).

In the context of locations/areas with known or suspected community transmission or intense outbreaks of COVID-19:

  • Health workers, including community health workers and caregivers, who work in
    clinical areas should continuously wear a medical mask during their routine
    activities throughout the entire shift; apart from when eating and drinking and
    changing their medical mask after caring for a patient who requires
    droplet/contact precautions for other reasons.


The Most Important Thing

Masks (surgical or non-surgical) can only work in combination with frequent handwashing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub and social distancing, which means keeping your distance from other people at all times.

The following ways have been documented as the most effective measures in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, and can be particularly important if you are elderly, vulnerable, or in the presence of strangers:

  1. Frequently cleanse hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  2. Cough or sneeze in a tissue and bin it.
  3. If a tissue is not available, cough/sneeze into your elbow and not your hands (with or without a mask).
  4. Stay home as much as possible, only leave for essential trips.
  5. Practice social distancing, three feet away from other people, at all times.
  6. Masks may be used in public but must be accompanied with other prevention measures listed previously.


Have More Questions?

Visit our frequently asked questions page for more answers.

Tags: COVID-19

Cayman Islands Government, Government Admin Building, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Tel: 345 949 7900

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