MORE RESTRICTIONS UNEXPECTEDLY RELAXED
There’s been a further and unexpected relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions from this weekend.
The previously unscheduled partial lifting applies to travel to and from the Sister Islands and also allows for some commercial vessels with a wildlife interaction zone (WIZ) licence to access two previously off-limit locations under certain circumstances.
Travel by air is now permitted for all persons from Grand Cayman to the Sister Islands, provided they notify TravelTime no less than 48-hours before travelling. They must also be tested for COVID-19 and return a negative result to the satisfaction of the Medical Officer of Health.
Persons wishing to travel by air from the Sister Islands to Grand Cayman, who intend to stay in a private residence, must notify TravelTime of their travel plans and the address of the residence.
TravelTime is a new government entity that was set up on July 1st to replace previous emergency travel procedures. It is operated by the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs.
Voluntary testing for the virus will be available to residents at the proposed address in Grand Cayman, which will be required in order for the residence to be approved as the traveller’s accommodation.
A government notice issued on Friday evening also sets out the medical conditions for those persons from the Sister Islands who plan to spend more than three night in Grand Cayman.
“Travellers from the Sister Islands who wish to stay longer than three nights in Grand Cayman must be tested for the virus no earlier than 48-hours before their departure (from Grand Cayman) and must return a negative result to the Medical Officer of Health. Those persons staying fewer than three nights are not required to undergo testing,” it says.
Travel by boat between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands is still not permitted unless the persons are designated essential services personnel as listed in the regulations.
The statement explains that the regulations remain the same as currently in place and are now extended to the end of the new regulations period.
There’s some leeway in accessing popular spots Stingray City and the Sandbar but Starfish Point and Run Point remain out of bounds.
Operators of commercial vessels who have a WIZ licence are now permitted access to Stingray City and the Sandbar but under strict conditions.
They should not carry more than ten people, should not station themselves alongside other vessels so more than ten people are gathered and must not rent scuba/snorkelling equipment to customers.
However, there is no restriction on the renting of dive tanks.
Breaking these rules could result in a fine of $1,000 and six months imprisonment.
These regulations remain in place until August 2nd or, the statement adds, until Cabinet specifies.
The current Level 2 Minimum Suppression phase in which a number of restriction on commercial and social activities runs until July 19th.
These additional partial lifting of some of the remaining measures under the current Level 2 Minimum Suppression will no doubt be welcomed.
It leads to the next phase of ‘unlocking Cayman’ through to August 2nd when entertainment, sports and leisure activities are expected to have their remaining restrictions lifted.
The stage will then be set for what happens next regarding the final Level 1 All Clear and the reopening of the borders.