Months of social distancing certainly hasn’t been easy, especially as we prepare to celebrate the holidays without our normal crowds of friends & family. We miss our normal. We miss parties, and traveling, and hanging out in public.
While opinions on what level of social distancing is appropriate can vary greatly depending on who you ask, there are some that blatantly defy it.
Some locales aren’t playing when it comes to their rules of social distancing, & the Cayman Islands is one of them.
The consequences for breaking mandatory quarantine are stiff… as one young woman now knows all too well.
An 18-year-old American traveler was slapped with four months of jail time in the Cayman Islands after deliberately breaking the island’s strict quarantine rules in order to watch her boyfriend participate in a jet ski competition.
Skylar Mack of Loganville, GA traveled down to the islands on November 27th. She was informed of a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, & the health department issued her a tracking wrist bracelet.
Instead of following the quarantine mandate, however, Mack deliberately removed the tracking bracelet and quit the quarantine period.
According to family members, Mack had contacted the health department with a request to loosen the bracelet, claiming it was cutting into her skin. Whether true or not, the slack in the contact tracer enabled her to ditch her tourist digs a mere two days after arriving in the area.
After slipping the bracelet off, Skylar attended a public jet ski competition that her boyfriend was participating in.
And the kicker?
Although she allegedly “maintained social distance” during the competition, she did not wear a mask, and was at the event for 7 hours.
Once authorities got wind of Skylar’s bold defiance, she was arrested. Although she & her boyfriend were originally expected to pay a fine & do community service, a local prosecutor decided that their punishment was too lenient.
It’s important to note that the Cayman Island’s strict quarantine measures seem to have helped in terms of controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus; to date there have only been 316 cases and 2 deaths.
As a result of deliberately breaking quarantine, the teen was originally sentenced to four months in a Cayman Islands jail.
Skylar Mack’s devastated family appealed to both Georgia governor Brian Kemp & President Donald Trump to assist in attempting to reduce Mack’s sentence, claiming that the Cayman Island officials were unfairly giving her a far harsher sentence in order to make an example out of her.
Mack’s own grandmother publicly told the The Today Show that:
They’ve decided they’re going to make an example and they’re going to use an 18-year-old American girl whose never had to deal with an attorney.
She’s never been in any trouble. None.
Her grandmother also explained that although they certainly understand that there should be consequences for Skylar’s choice to break the quarantine mandate, they feel that the “punishment should fit the crime”:
We’re not asking them to make an exception for Skylar, we’re just asking them not to make her an exception or an example. We want her to be treated fairly.
The family states that Skylar is riddled with anxiety over the prospect of serving jail time in a foreign country.
(Maybe she should have had more anxiety about flouting the rules of a foreign country in the first place, which would have helped her avoid this mess… just saying.)
On Tuesday, December 22, the official court ruling reduced Skylar Mack’s sentence from four months of jail time to two months.
In addition to the reduction in sentencing, the Cayman Islands allows people that have sentences of less than one year to be released on conditional release after serving 60% of their sentence.
Since Skylar has been in jail since her arrest, she is expected to be released sometime around January 19-20 of 2021.
Social media reaction to Skylar’s sentence has been mixed; while some think the sentence is overly harsh for a young first-time offender, others applaud the Cayman Island’s strict adherence to mandated quarantining in order to minimize citizen viral risk in the midst of a challenging public health crisis.
Regardless of your opinion of the sentence handed down, one thing’s for sure: Skylar Mack will rue the day she deliberately chose to quit quarantine in a foreign country, risking the health of others for a jet ski race.