The Cayman Islands will start gradually reopening from September.
This was confirmed on Friday by Hon. Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Moses Kirkconnell
The details of how this will be structured are currently being finalised.
Giving an indication of what’s to come, he explained that very strict and comprehensive health-check processes will be instituted to ensure that visitors are declared COVID-free before entering the territory.
Mr Kirkconnell said the reopening of borders, especially for tourism will be done “cautiously and carefully.”
A cross-departmental committee has been advising on the processes for the planned reopening.
In what would be the first phase, it is expcted that arrivals will mainly be Caymanian travellers and long-stay visitors.
In addition to rigorous pre-arrival screening, passengers will also be required to undergo a period of self-isolation in Cayman during which their health will be monitored via an electronic device.
They will also need to undertake a further test before they are fully cleared to circulate within the community.
Further announcements are expected as the regulations for the new system are currently being finalised.
As Cayman moves further to opening up borders the Chief Medical officer Dr John Lee is calling on resident to continue practicing the protocols put in place to suppress COVID-19, as the results to date have been encouraging.
In his latest update on Friday, the CMO said there were no new confirmed cases of the disease in Cayman from the batch of 274 results given.
203 persons are recorded as having had the disease in Cayman. All except three have recovered.
In the past two weeks there have only been two positive results.
With a further loosening of local restrictions from this weekend continuing under Level 2, Dr Lee reported a trend in Cayman which has shown that the measures which have been put in place to combat COVID-19 have not only prevented the disease from spreading here but has helped in keeping respiratiry illnesses in check.
He said this is reflected in significant reductions in comparable patterns of flu and other respiratory illnesses dating back to 2018/2019 through to this year.
With this Sunday marking another phase of further loosening the restrictions, Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin has welcomed the pattern of results over the past two weeks, especially as it falls in line with the government's schedule of reviewing the pace at which the territory reopens.
“The trend over the past two weeks puts us in a very good place," he said, adding that “in fact it’s probably the best we’ve seen for a month,” -reference to low number of positive tests reported over the period.
Since the last scale back of Level 2 measures on July 5th, only two cases have been confirmed.
MORE RESTRICTIONS ROLLED BACK
From this Sunday July 19th more measures will be rolled back allowing especially for further return to normal social and business activity.
These will be in place initially to the end of August at which time the borders will start reopening.
Starting this Sunday, public gatherings are being increased from 25 to 50 persons. This also relates to nightclubs, bars and restaurants where dancing and karaoke are allowed - although social distancing discretion is advised.
Shisha pipes are considered a high risk factor and are therefore disallowed.
Weddings and funerals will be permitted with a maximum of 50 persons each in addition to persons officiating.
Visits to care homes will be allowed but on condition that visitors to those facilities are declared COVID-free at least three days in advance due to the particular vulnerabilities of the care home residents.
Contact sports can be played again from Sunday but with players and spectators in ‘bubbles’ of 50 persons maximum.
However, scuba and snorkelling will be restricted to persons using their own gear as renting of that equipment is still prohibited.
Also from Sunday, air travel to the Sister Islands can take place on condition that the travellers must have been in the Cayman Islands for the previous two weeks.
Pleasure boats can also now travel between the islands, however, there’s a limit of 50 persons per vessel or 50% of their licenced passenger capacity.
Access to Stingray City and Sand Bar is being opened up to licenced operators but restrictions remain for Star Fish Point and Rum Point.
In all instances, it’s being stressed that social distancing and other applicable COVID-supression protocols will continue to apply.