Phase 2 of Cayman’s reopening under way

Monitoring of five-day quarantine ends; frontline workers tested weekly

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.

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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).

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Just out of curiosity I wonder if someone can answer this. If they hit 80% by Sept. 9 (they won’t) and you are a property owner and vaccinated and verifiable by one of the few accepted places, and want to go back when stage 3 starts, how do you get to Cayman? Private jet or yacht?

  2. In a earlier Cayman Compass article it listed CVS in the US as one of the verifiable vaccination cards. I contacted them and it is not electronically verifiable. It’s the same paper card I received from the CDC here in Illinois. Now what? I’m a time share owner.. is that considered a property owner? Just asking. Will I ever see your island again?

    • Not addressed are vaccinated parents traveling with small children who cannot be vaccinated. 15 days quarantine will still be required for the whole family.
      This certainly makes sense if the children are attending school. But not if they are under 3 years old.

  3. One thing Cayman should do is require all, front line workers, hospitality workers, government workers, teachers and anyone who is in contact with public be Jabbed or lose their jobs. This effort might not get to 80% but closer is closer.

  4. Hummm….quote from Health Minister Sabrina Turner: “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. A true statement. And yet “frontline workers” dealing with this possible transmission are not required to be vaccinated while if I work at a supermarket in the Cayman Islands I am required to be vaccinated? You will never reach the 80% mark without these types of requirements and there will be no high season in 2020. I am making plans to spend my time/money elsewhere.

  5. I believe after incredibly low revenues for the upcoming Winter 2021-22 season then and only then will the government get serious about reopening. They mistakenly thought tourists were so eager to come that they would put up with 5X the requirements and quarantine to come. The revenue this season will prove that wrong.

    While most prefer Cayman Islands over Turks & Caicos (for example), they don’t prefer it at THIS cost.

    Worst of all, a significant portion of the financially secure tourists who are forced to other islands this year will NOT return to Cayman next year or in the future. The longer this lockdown against American tourists continues you permanently continue to lower the number of tourists who come back.

    If you extend this to 2022, you will lose most American tourists permanently.

    The choice is yours.

    • John, you are correct, and I’ve voiced this concern in the past; people are creatures of habit, they find a vacation destination they love and they return multiple times. Covid and the forced closure of the Cayman Islands, coupled with the reopening of other destinations, Turks and Aruba are good examples, has lead American tourists to alternative vacation options. If they loved those locations the odds are high they will return and leave Cayman in the rearview mirror.

      When Cayman reopens, even if the reopening is without quarantine, it will take years for visitors to return. It will take months, likely many months for airlines to reinstate multiple flights to Grand Cayman which will continue to make it difficult to travel to the island. If major airlines are not confident flights will be booked and Grand Cayman is not added as a high-demand destination visitors will be forced to fly to Miami then pay an inflated airfare to fly Cayman Airways to access the island. How many people will go to all of that trouble and expense? Not many, I predict. The other option is via private jet but let’s face it the majority of our visitors are not arriving via private flights. A handful, yes but most of our tourists arrive on AA, Delta, JetBlue, or United. No major airlines arriving = no tourism regardless of if the border is open.

      On another point – people continue to talk about delta spreading in Florida, Texas, and other southern states. And it is spreading mostly in the unvaccinated but I challenge everyone to consider the climate in southern states in the summer. It is HOT and HUMID people are INSIDE in the AC, in dry, recirculating air. This is the equivalent of the northern states staying indoors in the winter. Cases would of course surge when more people are spending time indoors. Delta is contagious, but the truth is we are not going to outrun this virus, it will continue to mutate, and until we have enough people worldwide vaccinated we will battle Covid. Does CIG intend to keep our border closed until the world is 80% vaccinated? It sure seems that way.

  6. We are property owners and have reservations on Cayman airways for Mid Sept. to come in and quarantine to check our properties. I called today to check on this and was told we are not really on the flight even though I have reservations. Repatriation flights will be announced soon for September and we will get an email cancelling our reservation and asking us to phone to rebook on the flights they will be offering. With the soft opening I would expect this would be all organized by now. Doesn’t look like we will be coming in anytime soon.

  7. Removing the tracking rule is like going from having a dog in the house on a leash to a dog in the house without a leash. Can’t you just see all the tourists lining up because they won’t be tracked? (eye roll) And – you basically can’t even get a flight to Cayman. And it all applies only to verifiable vaccinations. What’s the point?

    All this aside the double jabs on CC’s vaccine tracker has been stubbornly stuck at 67% for nearly 2 weeks now.

    80%? Reopening under way? Please.

    I’m not saying throw the doors open but set goals that are meaningful.

  8. Cayman Islands has been our go to for the past 30 years. We even thought about moving there part time. My husband and I received our Moderna vaccine at a local Publix in Florida. I called Publix corporate to ask about a digital record and they knew nothing about it, nor have plans for one. As someone mentioned above, getting a booster at an approved site won’t suffice and from the sound of it, CVS doesn’t use a digital record.

    Cayman has forced people who live in the US, to look elsewhere to vacation. Our choice for 2022 is Anguilla. They have been up and running for awhile and have handled the pandemic well. Anguilla is very happy to welcome us to their island. It will probably end up being our new go to vacation spot even after Grand Cayman decides to open.