Phase 2 of the Cayman Islands’ border-reopening plan went into action Monday, 9 Aug., with certain vaccinated arrivals allowed to quarantine without GPS monitoring, and weekly PCR tests for unvaccinated frontline workers.
Up until Monday, any incoming traveller who could be ‘securely verified’ and who was eligible for the five-day quarantine option was issued with a ‘Stay Safe Cayman’ smart wristband and a mobile phone with an app that allowed the person to be monitored via GPS.
Under Phase 2 of the plan, GPS monitoring is being removed for securely verified arrivals, which, according to officials, will allow the government “to assess local impacts and build capacity to manage the increase in traveller volume anticipated with the opening of the borders in Phase 3”, scheduled for 9 Sept.
Securely verified travellers are those whose vaccination certificates can be electronically verified or who have been vaccinated in Cayman by the Health Services Authority.
According to a press release issued by government Tuesday afternoon, Travel Cayman staff will initiate daily contact with people in five-day quarantine, and will increase physical welfare checks.
Those quarantining without GPS technology are still required to follow quarantine protocols, which includes remaining in their residence for the duration of the isolation period, receiving no visitors and having contactless food deliveries. Breaching quarantine regulations can result in a fine of up to a $10,000 fine and/or a two-year prison sentence.
In a statement, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said the use of GPS technology had greatly assisted the continuous monitoring of people in quarantine, but added that it was notable that Travel Cayman identifies most breaches as a result of checks by its mobile compliance team and by reports of suspected breaches by the public.
Vaccinated travellers whose certificates cannot be electronically verified in Cayman are still required to undergo 10-day quarantine and will continue to use the monitoring wristbands and phones. Unvaccinated travellers undergo 14 days of quarantine and monitoring.
All arrivals are still required to undergo a PCR test at the end of their quarantine period.
Health Minister Sabrina Turner, in the statement, said that quarantine remains mandatory for all vaccinated and unvaccinated arrivals.
“While vaccination reduces the chances of infection and transmission, and offers the best possible protection against severe disease and death, it is still possible for vaccinated travellers to transmit the COVID-19 virus,” she said.
Phase 2 also marks the beginning of weekly PCR tests for unvaccinated frontline workers.
The press release issued by government Tuesday did not provide any additional details relating to the PCR testing for frontline staff.
The third phase of the reopening plan, set to start 9 Sept., involves the introduction of a limited number of tourists, and is subject to Cayman reaching an 80% vaccination rate. As of Monday, Cayman’s vaccination rate was 68%.
The fourth phase is expected to begin on 14 Oct., when quarantine requirements will be removed for all securely verified vaccinated travellers, and larger numbers of tourists will be allowed to enter Cayman as the islands gear up for tourism high season for the first time since 2019.
In the release, Premier Wayne Panton said that, as restrictions are reduced, the likelihood of COVID-19 re-entering the Cayman Islands community will increase, and that vaccinating against the virus offers the best protection for all residents.
He added that practising COVID-19 prevention protocols, including handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing are among the ways that members of the public “can protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community”.
“Our goal, led by the science, is to guarantee minimal risk to the community and we are continuously reviewing and upgrading our processes with this in mind,” he said.
Travel Cayman said anyone who suspects an individual has breached quarantine can make a report to the quarantine tip hotline at 943-7233 (943-SAFE).