Government weighs removing verifiable vaccination requirement for Cayman arrivals

The requirement to present a QR code in order to demonstrate an arriving passenger has been verifiably vaccinated could soon be off the table for those travelling to Cayman, according to Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan.

Speaking on Wednesday’s episode of the Compass’ weekly show ‘The Resh Hour’ Bryan made the announcement of a potential U-turn on that policy, adding “government is considering not making that a mandatory requirement moving forward, as we have seen the risk [of forgeries] associated with that mandatory element is very, very small, compared to the reward”.

He cited tourism arrival statistics from Cayman’s “best year” where half a million visitors came to the Islands and added “studies show probably less than 1% of persons would ever go as far as forging documents, particularly from key destinations. And even if you got a person to do that, the probabilities of that person having COVID is even smaller”.

He proposed increasing the fines and penalties should a person be caught trying to enter Cayman with a forged vaccination document. He also suggested a potential policy of restricting “certain jurisdictions”.

Cayman Islands Tourism Association president Marc Langevin received this news with what he described as an “explosion of joy”.

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“If I was not tied to a mic’ right now, I would do some cartwheels because that has been the point that we have found early on… had the most negative impact on our customer base,” he said.

Langevin explained, while the concept of a “common pass” was sound, the reality was the idea was not being adopted by key markets.

“We saw our business absolutely destroyed because of that,” Langevin said.

Full border-reopening announcement ‘close’

Bryan also said government was getting “closer and closer and closer” towards announcing a concrete date for removing the requirement for arrivals to quarantine, effectively fully reopening Cayman to global tourism.

Langevin said he believes the tourism sector and government share the desire “to achieve an opening before the year end”.

Acknowledging government’s halted border-reopening plan had undermined confidence in the jurisdiction, Langevin stated they were seeking a “credible” date, which they felt comfortable to share with their stakeholders, as well as from a business preparedness perspective.

Looking ahead to that future, Bryan also announced the imminent arrival of a Jet Blue flight incoming from New York’s JFK airport on Saturday.

“It’ll be the first commercial flight outside of Cayman Airways and British Airways that has been flying recently,” Bryan stated, adding: “They’re showing their commitment to the Cayman Islands to show they’re going to do it in a hard time [with quarantine remaining in place]”.

The tourism minister also stated government was inching “closer and closer” to bringing cruise ships back to the island. He hinted a potential solution for cruise lines wishing to restart their Cayman itinerary, would be if the jurisdiction was listed as the first port of call, for vaccinated passengers who have tested negative prior to departure. He also proposed the use of lateral flow tests before visitors disembark.

When asked if this was a chance to seek fewer ships, with a higher spending clientele, Bryan noted “I don’t think this is the opportunity now to remodel or restructure the cruise industry. I think we need to get it back and then we can slowly adjust”.

The minister also looked ahead to an expected press conference Thursday afternoon, in which he said an announcement would be forthcoming with regards to mandatory vaccinations.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Now you are considering having “unverifiable “ vaccinated travelers come to your island when you have an extremely elevated level of community transmission. What’s the incentive for vaccinated travelers with break through infections possible?

  2. Good news except for the cruise ships. The Premier needs to step in here and avoid flooding our island again with hordes of passengers who mostly spend very little and clog up our roads to the detriment of residents, and stayover visitors who spend a lot more. Seeking fewer ships with more upmarket passengers has to be the way to go.

  3. “…as we have seen the risk [of forgeries] associated with that mandatory element is very, very small, compared to the reward”. As the commenters have been saying here all along. I’m not sure how the CIG even came up with any scenario where someone fakes a vacc card to go on an expensive island vacation. Nice imagination for whoever conjured that one up.

    • It’s seriously beautiful in Turks & Caicos. The Ritz and villas are open. We’ve been twice after having to cancel in Cayman both times. I’ve already cancelled our February 2022 trip to Cayman as we cannot wait for this incompetent government to get it (sic) together. The unvaccinated live in fear and support this debacle. Turks & Caicos, here we come in February 2022!

  4. Isnt it funny how the government has used the excuse “we cant just pick a date in the future and stick to it. We have to adapt to the situation”….Yet, magically after all the push back they are literally going to “pick a date in the Future and STICK to it”. Gotta love politicians and their ability to really speak out of both sides of their mouths. 😀

  5. When asked if this was a chance to seek fewer ships, with a higher spending clientele, Bryan noted “I don’t think this is the opportunity now to remodel or restructure the cruise industry. I think we need to get it back and then we can slowly adjust”.

    Translation: We have no intention of doing this.
    We will continue to welcome people on low cost cruise ships that might buy a T shirt.

  6. I agree it is time to reopen the tourism industry, if possible on a slow scale. However, I am totally in disagreement with the Minister’s statement about the cruise ship industry…this is the only time that Cayman can be selective of which cruise ships are allowed and I agree with the other commentator that we do not need thousands of people clogging the streets, Stingray City, etc. to purchase a T-shirt or a key chain!

  7. One more thought: “studies show probably less than 1% of persons would ever go as far as forging documents, particularly from key destinations. And even if you got a person to do that, the probabilities of that person having COVID is even smaller”.

    The chance of someone forging a document to travel to Cayman and spend thousands of dollars and being infect is extremely small. The people who don’t want to get vaccinated wouldn’t be caught dead with a vaccine card as it is against what they stand for – and those folks are NOT travelers to the Cayman Islands!