Cayman’s borders to reopen in September

Additional regulations also lifted starting Sunday.

Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell on Friday announced Cayman’s borders will reopen to international travel starting on 1 Sept. The reopening will come in phases.

“The prospect of reopening is a subject of concern to many in our communities,” said Kirkconnell at government’s COVID-19 press briefing, adding that government has noted the COVID-19 situation in North America and beyond.

“We also recognise that keeping our borders closed indefinitely is not reasonable, sustainable and cannot continue from an economic standpoint.”

Here’s the first phase of reopening starting 1 Sept:

  • Potential passengers must take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before departing. The result must come back negative.
  • Potential visitors fill out an online application, which includes requirement to prove the COVID-19 test result. TravelTime will consider the application and provide a decision as to whether the potential visitor is given permission to arrive.
  • Approved passengers will arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport and adhere to the facility’s new social distancing protocols.
  • Visitors will receive a health monitoring device upon arriving in the Cayman Islands.
  • After clearing immigration and customs, visitors will then be taken to a monitored self-isolation for five days.
  • Visitors then are given another COVID-19 test. If negative, visitors are able to leave isolation but must still wear the monitoring device.
  • The first phase applies to repatriation flights rather than scheduled commercial flights.

Kirkconnell said TravelTime will consider where a person is travelling from when determining whether to grant permission to travel to Cayman. Travellers will also need to pay a flat registration fee that would help cover the cost of the monitoring device and other costs incurred with the reopening protocols.

He added that geofencing could be used to ensure arriving visitors remain in isolation during their first five days in the country.

Kirkconnell said the next phase of reopening would not include isolation but declined to give a date on when that phase would begin.

Government does not have a pre-set number of visitors it intends to allow to travel to Cayman during the first phase. Instead, Kirkconnell said, that number depends on a number of variables, including the number of people who leave on repatriation flights.

“Safety and security will remain the main drivers in decision making,” Kirkconnell said. “We prefer to err on the side of caution.”

Officials said more details relating to the reopening of the borders would be released next week and regulations were being drawn up.

Restrictions will further ease on Sunday

Premier Alden McLaughlin on Friday further outlined easing of Cayman’s COVID-19 suppression measures scheduled to take place on Sunday. The restrictions will remain in place until 31 Aug. All the restrictions are subject to social distancing protocol.

  • Up to 50 people now allowed to gather in public
  • Dancing and karaoke will be allowed
  • Night clubs can open and accommodate up to 50 patrons
  • Hookah/shisha remain prohibited
  • Up to 50 people can now attend weddings in addition to the bride, groom, official witnesses and the marriage officer
  • Up to 50 people can now attend funerals in addition to the six pallbearers and essential mortuary staff and officiants
  • You can now visit residential care home facilities, like the Pines Retirement Home, with a negative PCR test within three days of visiting
  • Contact sports permitted. Players and fans will be considered two separate groups, meaning there can be up to 50 participants and up to 50 spectators
  • No change in scuba/snorkel restrictions
  • Travel between Cayman’s three islands can now be done without a PCR test, providing travellers have been in Cayman for more than two weeks
  • Commercial boats can now carry up to 50% of their licensed capacity, not exceeding 50 people
  • Gathering of boats will be able to take place with up to 50 people gathered
  • Travel will be permitted by boat between islands for pleasure
  • Restrictions remain with access to Stingray City and the Sandbar. Only those with a Wildlife International Zone licence are permitted to visit those areas
  • Vessels remain prohibited from visiting Starfish Point and Rum Point

No new cases

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported 274 negative tests on Friday, with no positives.

That means Cayman’s total number of positive cases remains at 203, with 200 people who have recovered. There are two active cases remaining, both of those people are asymptomatic.

There are 137 people who remain isolated at government facilities and five people isolating at their homes.

Fewer people reporting flu-like symptoms in 2020

Lee said the virus prevention measures that health leaders have been recommending have led to a significant drop off in the number of people reporting flu-like symptoms.

In April – when government’s COVID-19 prevention measures intensified along with public service announcements recommending handwashing, physical distancing and other measures – there were half the number of flu-like symptoms reported compared to the same month in 2018 and 2019.

It was the same story in May. June was even better, with only a quarter of the number of people with flu-like symptoms in 2018 and 2019 reporting having them in 2020.

Government provides update on small-business support

The Cayman Islands Centre for Business Development has paid out more than $1 million to applicants and approved another $386,000 as part of its micro- and small-business programme.

There have been 1,085 applications to the programme, with an approval rate of 84%, the premier said.

Approved applicants receive a full payment of $3,000.

There were another 74 applications received under the low interest loan programme. Eleven applications have been approved in that programme and another seven assessed for approval with a total value of $615,000 in approval stage.

Read the latest regulations in full:

Prevention, Control and Suppression of COVID-19 (Partial Lifting of Restrictions) (No. 3) Regulations, 2020

Prevention, Control and Suppression of COVID-19 (Partial Lifting of Restrictions) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020

Control of COVID-19 (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, our borders must re-open at some time. Ok, so these published criteria from CIG are a start. On the surface, they seem fairly rational, perhaps as cautious as can be per the context, seemingly workable subject to full compliance of the visitors affected and, I hope, remain flexible enough to be revised to the benefit of the people presently living in the Cayman Islands, if necessary.

    However, a couple of “hmmms?” enter my mind.

    So, we will be spending unknown amounts of funds (albeit pandemic-related and perhaps with measures to make it more easily available – but public funds no less) to establish and operate application-processing, monitor, test, monitor visitors for perhaps 3, 4, 5 days or more, and perhaps even more costs unseen at this time.

    We will be using more test kits from our stock. Recall that many were previously sold to some of our neighbours in a great humanitarian gesture. Have we replenished our stock?

    Has a cost/benefit analysis been done to establish that it is indeed worth these expenditures for the revenues that visitors may bring?

    Of course, one is or could soon be a known factor – that is the costs or estimated costs of doing all that has been described. The unknown is how many visitors may choose to come and how much our revenues will benefit from their presence.

    In my opinion, the criteria as published today, leaves enough room for any visitor considering coming after Sept. 1 to decide whether or not they are prepared to comply. It is likely that some people may decline and not come. Hopefully, the monitoring and response actions will be more than adequate to detect and act those who may not comply at any point after they arrive. BTW, are there penalties attached?

    In any case, under all circumstances, I trust our Government will carefully consider which countries it will prioritize first per their virus status and departure virus-control measures and, under no circumstances will include anywhere in the USA for the foreseeable future – not even just the “hot-spots” states. After all, one could drive from “hot-spot” Miami to say, less or perhaps not a “hot-spot”, Charlotte NC and catch a flight to Cayman if one chooses to do so. Arrival records show the visitor as coming in from Charlotte. Sorry, it’s not about Americans but Moron-in-Chief and The Spineless Talking Heads are killing your people! Just saying.

    I would hope that these considerations and more have been examined, or will be before September 1.

    As for me, essential outings from my cabin only! Good luck Cayman!

  2. Self isolation means you yourself isolate yourself, I assume that means you can self isolate in the comfort and safety of your own lovely home. Or does this actually mean that you are forced to isolate, in a single hotel room which you are personally made liable to pay for as well as security?

    As you can see, there is a big difference in interpretation of thisAnd the wording should perhaps be more accurate to reflect which of the two versions it actually is.

    Does anybody know the answer please?

  3. Good news for the economy but 5 days self isolation is not enough.
    Especially if that returning visitor is going to a home where others are living. Will the rest of the family also be monitored? If not then the new arrival can give the virus to someone in their household who is NOT subject to any monitoring at all. Who can go to a church or other public place and infect dozens.

  4. Let’s remember that airports such as Miami are high risk places.
    Someone can be negative before leaving their home, catch it at the airport, they would still be negative when they arrive but infectious nonetheless, it would develop over the next few days, perhaps asymptomatically, and be passed onto unquarantined family members.

    The answer of course is to require everyone living in that home to isolate and wear the tracking band.

  5. Just my opinion but I think some additional consideration should be given to property owners as far as self quarantining upon arrival. If someone has their own home or condo, why the need to be shuttled off to someplace else. Even if it meant reporting to a central location each day to be tested it’s still a better alternative and certainly less costly for all.

  6. We were planning on using out timeshare this year for a week, as always but these restrictions make it impossible to do so. A week’s vacation with 5 days in isolation, someplace, and paying for all of it at some cost. This seems out of line if you really want to attract tourists back to the Cayman’s. This is only 4 people but I can’t see how anyone can follow these mandates. We hope you will look at it realistically or I am afraid your tourism is finished.

  7. It is my belief that property owners will be very responsible regarding the opportunity to return to Cayman, given their vested interest. However, requiring a property owner to quarantine in a hotel room for 5 days is very unreasonable.

    Why not allow property owners to self-quarantine in their own homes and monitor with whatever technology is available? Any violation would incur an immediate $2,000 fine. I think you would get a very high level of compliance and significantly reduce cost and resource requirements.

    I understand Kerith’s concern about USA visitors, however, don’t throw us all into the same evaluation. Some of us are very diligent and are taking every precaution even though our leaders are failing us.

  8. I certainly do not agree with a fitted animal/criminal collar of any type to monitor human behavior. I have personal business to tend to and will say; these current regulations will push my travel out into the islands until Government’s further review. Either take the risk or remain closed, I support one way or the other. I look forward to a time when Covid is in our rearview mirror.

  9. Mr. Cooke, point taken but that was not my intention. Sorry. Of course I realize that not every single American is being “careless” or listening to and buying into the disgusting politicizing of a national health crisis (as it applies to the USA) but it clearly affects the big picture and the general view is that the USA is failing in its fight – at least as we speak.

    I really wish all the best for America and all Americans on this matter but as you surely can understand, my comments were based on my opinion of what’s best for our own islands at this time. Americans have the chance in November to let their voices be heard about pandemic response and so many other negatives of the present administration.