By Lindsey Turnbull
People may have noticed an increase in the numbers of mask wearers in public places this week, a sensible, abundantly cautious precautionary measure that they are taking on the advice of Public Health since Cayman moved to phase two of the reopening plan on Monday 9th August.
The main change in phase two is that GPS tracking is now no longer required for travellers flying into Cayman who qualify for the five-day quarantine (i.e., double vaccinated people whose vaccine can be verified by the H.S.A.). Individuals quarantining without GPS technology must follow all other prescribed quarantine protocols, however, including remaining in their residence for the duration of the quarantine period and receiving no visitors. Contactless supply deliveries are another important requirement.
The Government have changed these rules to allow it to assess local impacts and build capacity to manage the increase in traveller volume anticipated with the opening of the borders in Phase three, which is scheduled for 9th September 2021.
In Phase Two, returning Caymanians, residents, work permit holders and others with close ties to the country (such as property owners) are allowed to travel here but cruise tourism is still not permitted. All incoming travellers must apply on the Travel Cayman Portal and only authorised transport can take people arriving to their place of quarantine. They still need to take a quarantine exit PCR test and still need a pre-arrival PCR. The length of time in quarantine remains the same:
• 5 days – with a verified vaccinated
• 10 days – with an unverified vaccinated
• 14 days – unvaccinated for the unvaccinated.
GPS Tracking is only required for people not eligible for the five-day quarantine. There will be periodic spot checks on travellers in quarantine.
Gathering limits remain at 500 people indoors and 1,000 people outdoors and public transport and taxi service can operate at full seating capacity, with masks.
In particular, Public Health recommends vulnerable (elderly and comorbidities) and unvaccinated persons aged five and over to wear masks when in public (or those aged 10 and over or Grade/Year 5 when in schools).
Premier Wayne Panton said that the reopening plan, which is slowly rolling back requirements for inward travel over the remainder of 2021, was essential to safely restarting the economy.
As restrictions are reduced, Mr Panton said the likelihood of the COVID-19 disease re-entering the Cayman Islands community would increase and that the vaccine offered the best protection against the risk that the deadly disease poses to Caymanians and residents of all ages.
Practising COVID-19 prevention protocols, including handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing, if vulnerable, were among the ways that members of the public could protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community.
Premier Panton added: “The Government, with the support of Public Health Officials and the Civil Service, has put a tremendous amount of planning and preparation into ensuring that we can successfully move through each phase of the plan, which is so important to the economic health of our country. 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.”
On 9th September Cayman should move to Phase Three, subject to the achievement of an 80 per cent vaccination rate. The main change will be a limited introduction of tourism during slow season with some restrictions (including a flight slot management system) which the Government hopes will allow it to manage the number of persons arriving. It also allows Government and the tourism industry to develop capacity for dealing with larger volumes of travellers in preparation for high season.
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