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Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said the closure of Cayman’s borders to tourists was a difficult but necessary decision to keep the country safe.
He acknowledged that the move would cause disruption throughout the economy, particularly to the tourism industry, which is effectively shut down as of this weekend.
The three-week air travel closure, which starts Sunday, follows a decision to ban cruise ships from the island, effective today.
“The lives of our people in the Cayman Islands are our first and foremost concern,” Kirkconnell said in a press release Monday.
“We are confident that the long-term benefits of this border control measure will help us to prevent wider impact throughout our country.”
He said “stringent measures” which also include a ban on all-but-essential travel to the Sister Islands were necessary to keep people safe and would ultimately safeguard the longer term interests of the industry.
“It’s hard to believe how much our lives have changed in such a short period of time and I know we all feel some level of unease. These measures are to protect all of us—Caymanians, residents, and those who call the Cayman Islands home,” he said.
“We know that the measures we are putting in place now are going to have an impact on our day to day lives and businesses, but we are fully confident that the efforts we make today are to protect us all. The resilience of our dynamic tourism industry will lead the Cayman Islands to economic rebound.”