As from Easter Monday, 18 April, Cayman moves to Phase II of its Covid regulations on cruise tourism, which will see the Islands lift the restrictions on the number of cruise ships able to visit, a move back to pre-pandemic times.
The Tourism Ministry said Cayman could comfortably move to Phase II of government’s policy on dealing with cruise ship visits because there had not been any major spikes in Covid-19 cases since cruise ships were reintroduced to the Cayman Islands on 21 March of this year.
Phase II will take effect from Monday 18 April and will continue until the Long Term Cruise Tourism Strategy is completed, before the end of the year, they said. Now that the restrictions on the number of ships visiting Cayman have been removed, ships will now revert to the normal process of liaising with the Port Authority Cayman Islands for approval to dock, rather than going through the Ministry of Tourism, as was the case for Phase I.
The Ministry said that all health protocols from Phase I would remain in place for Phase II. These include the requirements for all cruise passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated in order to disembark the ship in Grand Cayman. Children under 12 will continue to assume the vaccination status of their parents, and no-one who tests positive will be allowed to disembark the ship, whether they are symptomatic or not.
Chief Medical Officer of Health (Interim) Dr Autilia Newton confirmed that during Phase I there had not been a significant change in the number of new Covid-19 cases.
“The stringent health protocols implemented by the Cayman Islands government exceeds the guidelines issued by the Centres for Disease Control and have been effective in safeguarding the health of residents,” she said. “Furthermore, Public Health’s analysis of cruise passenger data collected during Phase I have not found any evident link between the number of Covid-19 cases currently on Island and cruise passenger arrivals.”
Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism and Transport, said that businesses were reporting an increase in the uptake of services.
“This is advantageous for our tourism stakeholders and the country as a whole,” he confirmed. “Even though things are going well, as the sector moves to Phase II, we will remain vigilant in our monitoring of global trends particularly with respect to Covid-19 health protocols to ensure that our people stay protected.”
Troy Leacock, Cayman Islands Tourism Association Vice President and Watersports Director, said that, with the resumption of cruise tourism, CITA had seen an immediate increase in business.
“Despite the lower ship occupancy and the restricted number of ships, there has been a surge in visitor activity,” Mr Leacock said. “This indicates a very strong demand from the cruise industry and cruise guests for our Cayman activities.”
Minister Bryan also noted that, based on public feedback about passengers not wearing masks, cruise lines have been requested to remind passengers of the mask mandate while onshore and inside premises.
“In our communication with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, announcing the move to Phase II, the Cayman Islands government has asked cruise lines to step up their passenger communication to ensure that passengers are aware of the need to adhere to our on-island safety protocols, particularly social distancing and mask wearing while indoors at retail outlets and restaurants,” he said.