By Lindsey Turnbull
Premier Wayne Panton set out a five-phased approach to the opening of Cayman’s borders at today’s Chamber of Commerce Legislative Lunch, at which he said Cayman would see an opening of its borders to certain travelers on 9th September, while the Islands won’t be welcoming cruise tourists until 27th January 2022, the Premier said. The phased approach will only happen if Cayman reaches 80 per cent vaccination rate of its population, however, and was subject to change.
The Cayman Islands is currently in phase one of the opening process since its borders were officially shut last year due to the pandemic, and at the moment requires a PCR test for travelers before travelling and a five-day quarantine for vaccinated travelers and a 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated, both of which require the traveler to be electronically monitored (vaccinations must be verifiable by Cayman’s Public Health Service). However, come phase two on 9th August, things will become easier for vaccinated travelers.
“During this phase we will ease the monitoring of vaccinated travellers by removal of GPS monitoring,” Premier Panton said. “This will allow the Government to assess local impacts and build capacity to manage increased traveller volumes anticipated with the opening of the borders in phase three.”
The real key date comes on 9th September, when phase three kicks in and Cayman will open its borders to tourists.
“In phase three, which is anticipated to begin on September 9th, we plan for a limited introduction of tourism. At that date we will be beyond the time frame of schools opening so we will not be reopening our borders at the same time as our children are preparing to go back to school,” the Premier said. “During phase three, our borders will open to securely verified vaccinated travellers, except for cruise travellers.”
Slow season was chosen as a good time to begin the phasing in of tourists and would allow Government time to build capacity for larger volumes of tourists later on, he said.
Quarantine will be allowed at all hotels and other tourist accommodations, with periodic spot visits for vaccinated persons in quarantine, he advised.
Phase four, beginning 14th October, will see the removal of the requirement to quarantine for all securely verified vaccinated travellers.
“We anticipate that the rate of local vaccination will be substantially adequate by this time to allow for the safe increase in tourism and relaxation of restrictions,” Premier Panton explained. “However, during phase four, unvaccinated travellers will continue to be required to apply for entry on the Travel Cayman Portal.”
Vaccinated travellers will be required to make a declaration of travel and include their vaccination status on the Travel Cayman Portal, with a declaration certificate issued and vaccination checked on arrival.
On 18th November, the fifth phase will take over, whereby a further loosening of travel restrictions will take place, when unvaccinated children younger than the eligible vaccination age will be able to travel with vaccinated adult tourists.
During phase five, unvaccinated children younger than 12 will not be required to quarantine, PCR testing will be required for local unvaccinated children older than 5 who travel prior to being allowed to return to school, and there will be surveillance of unvaccinated persons by periodic PCR testing.
On 27th January 2022, the Government will reassess the COVID-19 situation in a local and international context to determine when and how to proceed with further relaxation of restrictions and travel.
“If the assessment allows, we would begin to welcome all travellers and start the re-introduction of cruise tourism. It is anticipated that at this point there would no longer be any quarantine restrictions for any travellers; no restrictions on public gathering limits or public transport capacity; and no restrictions on certain business operations,” the Premier advised.
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