Quarantine reduced to five days for vaccinated travellers, but no plan for reopening

Government announced the reduction of the quarantine period to five days for incoming travellers who have completed an approved course of vaccination against COVID-19 that can be securely verified.

The quarantine period remains at 14 days for travellers who have not been vaccinated or cannot provide satisfactory proof of vaccination, Premier Wayne Panton said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The measure and further changes to the regulations will come into effect on 23 June.

Government will also reinstate the mandatory 72-hour pre-arrival PCR testing for the virus for all incoming travellers, but remove the tests on arrival. Testing remains in place for all travellers exiting quarantine.

“We also plan to require mandatory weekly PCR testing of unvaccinated frontline workers,” Panton said. “Those workers will be defined by the medical officer of health, and include all those who work directly with travellers.”

Panton said the government would present a border-reopening plan in the next weeks.

“Our plan is based on a number of people vaccinated so that the vulnerable in our community, who can’t get vaccinated, are protected. Once we do reopen our border, and we will, in our plan we will slowly reintroduce tourism without having thousands of people at the airport.”

He said, “We have too many examples of regional territories and countries who have tried and gotten it wrong. And the cost of that happening is worse than taking a bit longer to try to get it right.”

The reopening plan will depend on revised population figures. The Economics and Statistics Office now estimates that 71,100 people live in the Cayman Islands at this time.

This impacts the vaccination calculations.

Government Press Conference for 16 June.

Panton said the latest medical advice suggests a target ratio of 80% of the population may be necessary to achieve herd immunity.

On this basis another 17,000 people in Cayman would still need to be fully vaccinated.

Panton said there would be a much-better chance of achieving this target with the vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds and by making it mandatory for people seeking work-permit renewals to be fully vaccinated.

Based on the latest population estimates, 66% of the population have had at least one vaccine jab and 56% have had both. A new batch of 12,000 vaccine doses is expected to arrive today.

The phased reopening plan will look at the reintroduction of tourism by mid-September. This is in part impacted by the aim not to have the border reopening occur at the same time as the beginning of the school year.

Reopening to tourists during the slow season would also ensure that visitor numbers are manageable and allow for the collection of data to monitor COVID numbers and build capacity in preparation for high season, Panton said.

Ultimately the plan “will take into account increasing air traffic, different quarantines depending on the travellers and eventually getting to a stage of all clear – hopefully by the end of the year”, he added.

Governor Martyn Roper supported the government’s position saying the priority was to get “more jabs into people’s arms”.

He said the evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19, including the new Delta variant, was now well proven.

“Do come forward and take both jabs as soon as you can. It really is the best way to stay safe,” Roper said.

He added that opening up was a difficult and complex process and concurred with Panton’s analysis that almost every country that had reopened had been forced to take “backward steps”.

The governor said that diplomatic negotiations were continuing to get Cayman on the United Kingdom’s green list so people travelling from here to the UK could do so without quarantining.

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  1. Wow. So now the quarantine is 5 days which is really 7 days because they don’t count the first day you land and you get tested on your 6 day but don’t get your results until the next day which makes 7 days. Maybe they should see how some of the states are doing in the USA. For example we opened up fully in NJ a month ago and we have 0 issues. NJ is vaccinated 70 percent and with the other people who have the antibodies we have had no issues. I work in a major hospital in NJ and we have 0 patients with COVID 19. The Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine are proven winners with fighting this pandemic. I just hope your government takes a look at we are doing over here in the USA before too many good people in your country lose their restaurants and their businesses. They need to open soon!!!!

  2. The government continues to dangle to reopening carrot. First it’s 70-75% vaccination for herd immunity now it’s 80% based off the revised population targets (aka tourists coming in). Why does that matter when the incoming tourists are vaccinated and are already taking a COVID test within 72 hrs of their flight? Look at Iceland. Similar LOW Covid numbers as Cayman. Has been open for a few months to vaccinated travels or those previously with COVID in addition to a COVID test upon arrival. Just need to quarantine for 4 hrs to get your test back. No silly 5 day quarantine. Looks like they are still doing extremely well still in terms of numbers.

    Cayman has done a tremendous job in trying to push the vaccine on its population. However, at some point, people just don’t want to get vaccinated. That’s how it is in the US. There is nothing we can do, this is their choice and let them deal with the consequences. It is unfair to punish the restaurants and businesses who have listened just because some people on the island don’t want to get vaccinated.

    Why do we have to wait until September to have a more phased reopening. Really, 2.5 months for what will likely be a very delayed reopening? Cayman should start ramping up in August so people know it’s actually opened come the fall.

  3. Totally worthless move. No one is coming and sitting for a week. The over-cautious plan will force thousands of tourists to see alternative destinations and many of them will not return. Those that do return will probably do so with far less frequency. This slow opening will create long-term damage to the tourism economy.

  4. Government unwittingly sends the message that they themselves are unsure if vaccinations work when you impose a “in practice” 7 day quarantine for documented fully vaccinated US/British visitors.

  5. Completely absurd. Get with it Cayman and follow the science. If you have the vax you cannot pass it on and you shouldnt have to Q even one day.

    Straight off the CDC website “You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic” or “You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States” (from an international destination). That includes Florida where they have a much higher % of the population that are old. They clearly are not at all concerned and recognize this bug only affects .03% of the population.

    5 days of Q if you are vaccinated??? Completely out of step. I thought we elected a new approach for a reason.

  6. I feel like this will completely fall on deaf ears as far as the government officials are concerned, as they don’t seem to care what the public thinks or needs, but here is my 2 cents regardless.

    I feel like the government is trying to wait to open the borders when everything is “perfect”. When they can pretty much guarantee that Covid won’t affect the Cayman citizens or no one will get sick, or unfortunately die. In a perfect world, this would be ideal, but we don’t live in a perfect world. While you are waiting for this to happen, the Cayman citizens are literally losing their life savings, their homes, their dignity. People from around the world that love Cayman and have invested their hard earned money into a property are losing their shirts, watching it go un-rented for 16 months now.

    No, thankfully, no one is dying due to Covid in Cayman, but I can assure you, people sure as heck are suffering greatly, and each week that you keep those borders closed is hurting everyone more. You saw that article from the local restaurant owners saying how much they are hurting. You saw the article months ago from the bus and taxi drivers saying how much they’ve lost. And that only scratches the surface.

    If you put the precautions in place that you mentioned in today’s press conference, and don’t let anyone in without vaccines (or if you do, they quarantine for 14 days), armed with a PCR test, then please try to open the borders. The US is doing it successfully. They might not be perfect, but as I said, if you’re waiting for perfect, you’re going to hurt many more people than you’re helping.

  7. Nice work there, Government! You’ve been on the job for over 6 weeks, and have been presented with one single, pressing, economically foundational issue that needs immediate management. And have produced nothing. Just come up with a plan that allows opening. Any plan will do. “Coming in the next weeks” isn’t too reassuring to anyone who’s livelihood is staked to the tourism industry.

    Cayman’s competitors are eating your lunch by opening earlier, yet you drag your feet with a peculiar mixture of intense fear of the disease and craven political deference to all of the wacko’s who refuse to get vaccinated. Who exactly are “the vulnerable in our community, who can’t get vaccinated”, there can’t be too many Caymanians that suffer injection anaphylaxis or are allergic to Polyethylene Glycol? Anyone else is voluntarily choosing not to take part and assuming all of the risks inherent in that position. It is time for the new government to lead, not to dither.

  8. This is a step to slowly move in the direction of opening. I am a tourist on the island, completed the 10/12 day quarantine, and am fortunate to stay for another month. I have been received with joy everywhere and am so happy to be here supporting the economy. Hopefully the reduced quarantine will bring in more tourists.

  9. I support staying closed through the height of hurricane season in the first 2 weeks of September because there would be nothing worse than bringing a bunch of tourists back, just as the kids are all coming back to school and construction is going gangbusters and work permit holders start coming back to support the tourists, construction and school year – then suddenly we get creamed by a cat 5 storm and quarantining goes bad and evacuations go bad, because everyone in the airline industry has forgotten the routine. It just doesn’t work. That said, we need to figure out some way to get back open because quarantining vaccinated people is not supported by medicine, and because we desperately (as a nation) need to get back into the routine of serving people at scale and get good at what we used to do so naturally again. And we need to get our people off the government handouts because it isn’t good for them. Also at some point if we don’t get open and the broader economy in the US/Europe cools, we will have economic headwinds to construction and real estate (which has supported the economy). We have been lucky this last year. Many good people here and abroad have reinvested into the economy and have helped shore things up with local spending and pension holidays, but none of us should start sleep-walking to a place where we think this is normal or sustainable – because it isn’t and eventually our luck could run out.

  10. This is Nuts! What is wrong with this government? This is turning into a game. the boarders should be open to vaccinated tourists without any quarantine. They got put on the spot by McTaggart and had to say something.. This was all they could do?? We need to put the pressure on the government. if this was America there would be protests in the streets over this. People in cayman are starving and need the tourists back.

  11. The least PACT can do is tell us when they will release their “plan”.Until we have a date which is entirely within their ability to name, all the hotels are unable to plan for their re-opening and we will all continue to live in a state of hibernation. If the plan includes vaccinating an additional 17,000 residents our wait may well continue until Christmas. The reality is that a large proportion of the working population which comprises civil servants, M.P’s , all the SAGC’s including Cayman Airways , the Port Authority, CIMA, the Maritime Authority, the C.I.A.A,, the C.A.A to name a few all continue working on full pay without any layoffs , so Government itself is largely unaffected whilst many of the poorer civilian population suffer.

  12. The gov’t makes it sound like they are the first to blaze this all new situation. Actually, you are close to the last. Look at the science and look at other countries. Also, maybe instead of making a prize contest to get people vaccinated, you should inform them that the borders are opening and if they are not vaccinated, they may get COVID and may die. That would seem to be more effective than to offer prize money.

  13. I agree with most of the comments. Any quarantine for vaccinated tourists is crazy. Also seems like the government is trying to force people to get vaccinated by continuing to delay reopening. We have been vaccinated and have been waiting to visit Grand Cayman for months. However, we can’t spend 5-7 days of an 8 day vacation in quarantine. I wonder if adults with children under 12 will be able to visit without quarantine? I seriously doubt it which will cause us to delay our plans again. They are definately missing out on tourist dollars with these ridiculous policies.

  14. Very disappointing. Where is the science they are supposedly following ? We are still not coming back if there is a requirement to quarantine. I have my vaccination card and that should be enough. Robin M.

  15. What seems to be left out of the article for even a 5 day quarantine is the Cayman Governments’ requirement for proof of vaccination. What was stated in the Press Conference was the requirement for an electronic means of verification like what the EU has. This does not exist in the US, on a nationwide basis, and there are no plans for such an electronic “vaccine passport”. At best, it is going to be on a state-by-state basis and, right now, the only state with such a thing is New York. If paper verification is not deemed legitimate most of the US will not be able to take what little advantage there is for a 5 day quarantine. In reality then, they are back to a 14 day quarantine as if they were not vaccinated.

  16. No plan…your headline sums everything up. Following Science ? Bull Crap. And the FACT that work permit holders are required to be vaccinated and Caymanians are not ? Utter nonsense. BTW I am Caymanian and I have been vaccinated so relax. If government continues to spend 5 million a month paying people to sit on their ass….what do you think the result is. Open the borders already.

  17. As a Cayman property owner, will have to make a call on whether to sell up regards Cayman assets or not before too long, hope I don’t have to but it doesn‘t feel like there is much cause for optimism given what the govt continues to say or not as the case may be. As with much of the world, it looks like the cure will be far worse than the actual disease: loss of jobs, socioeconomic impact, mental health, etc, etc, recession will impact mortality far more than CVD.
    Come on Cayman, you can’t stay locked away for ever; don’t move the goalposts, be honest with the population about the consequences of isolation, time to move on like many other carib islands or get left behind.