Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed Tuesday that Cayman’s borders were still on track to reopen in a phased manner from 1 Oct.
He acknowledged there were vastly different opinions among everyone in Cayman on how and when to reopen the islands to the world.
But he said government had to look at ways to bring back tourism and the revenue it provides. He said Cayman would proceed with caution and the first phase of reopening would likely be aimed largely at vacation-home owners and other long-stay tourists.
“It is not a question of us opening the borders and saying, ‘All who want to come and visit our beautiful Caribbean island, please come.’
“It is aimed at people who own or have access to a place here and intend to stay significantly more than two weeks.”
Government is still fine-tuning the likely protocols and requirements for entry into the islands but he said it was not likely to include the resumption of commercial flights from the US.
The premier outlined a process that would include an application to travel through the Travel Time hotline, a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure, a further COVID-19 test eight days after arrival, and monitoring with a BioButton or similar technology.
He said people arriving would not be required to go into mandatory isolation at a government facility and could isolate at their home or condo if they agreed to wear the BioButton.
The technology tracks health data points, including temperature and heart rate, and alerts public health officials to the early signs of infection.
It also allows for the use of ‘geofencing’ to ensure arriving passengers were keeping to the conditions of their isolation.
McLaughlin said government was also beefing up its “public health safety unit” by increasing the number of people available to check up on those who are self isolating.
He said there were a number of elements that still needed to be refined, but predicted that Cayman was on course for a soft reopening in October.
He said the aim was to reduce the chances of a re-introduction of COVID-19 to the community to “as close to zero as possible”.
No final, formal decision has been taken on reopening the borders, but he added, “I can say the 1 October date for a phased reopening remains in play.”