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Restrictions lifting: no arrival LFTs for vaxxed travellers

Front Pages 17 Feb, 2022 Follow News

Restrictions lifting: no arrival LFTs for vaxxed travellers

Amendments to Covid-19 regulations come into effect tomorrow, 18 February, that will see a lifting of the requirement to take lateral flow tests on day 2, 5 and 7 for fully vaccinated travellers with a verifiable vaccine who travel to the Cayman Islands. The pre-arrival requirement to test within 24 hours of travel via either LFT or PCR testing still remains, however.

At a press conference on Thursday 17 February, Premier Wayne Panton also advised that government was lowering the quarantine time for unvaccinated travellers to Cayman from 10 days to seven. A new exit regime would also be put in place for unvaccinated travellers, whereby they could conduct certified LFTs on day 6 and day 7 and, provided they were both negative, the person would be free to go on day 7. They could also choose to undertake a PCR on day 7 if they wished, the Premier said.

In addition, restrictions were being lifting with regard to inter-island travel and now only the unvaccinated would be required to show a negative lateral flow result should they wish to travel between the islands. Such testing would not be required for fully vaccinated people.

Restrictions on the numbers of people gathering both indoors and outdoors were also being relaxed and, as from Friday 18 February, gathering limits indoors would increase from 100 to 500 and outdoors, up to 1,000 people could meet, an increase on the original 250 maximum. Masks would not now need to be worn by either spectators or participants in sporting activities outdoors. The passenger maximum for boats (depending on the vessel’s load restrictions) would now be 500 people. Test restrictions on gyms would also be lifted.

The lifting of the restrictions would provide a serious boost to Cayman’s tourism industry, the Premier said, paving the way for a proper uptick in arrivals.

two main issues were the gathering limits which impacted the size of groups that hotels could get in and secondly the day 2,5 and 7 LFT testing regime,” the Premier advised. He said upon the announcement of the lifting of the restrictions in this regard, significant stakeholders in the tourism industry were already thanking him for the moves.

Premier Panton said that the amendments were being put in place to support the economy and also enable people to live safely with Covid-19. He said government was taking a “balanced and pragmatic view” and the loosening of restrictions were taking place in light of the reduction of the number of positive tests currently within the community.

Good news for tourism

Lifting restrictions on things like arrival testing and gathering numbers was good news for tourism, the Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan said.

“These changes will improve our attractiveness to international visitors and will boost our ongoing efforts by my Ministry and others to increase stayover visitation. Feedback received from the industry partners highlighted the LFT testing regime was presenting major hurdles for visitors. Many were not happy with having to line up three different days during their vacation to take a certified test,” he said. “I’m certain that the industry is breathing a collective sigh of relief hearing the announcement today.”

Minister Bryan said that, in addition to the dropping of the testing regime, bars and nightclubs had been granted the approval to return back to normal licensing hours. This change would enable local businesses to cater to more patrons for a longer period, he said.

added that it was important to think of local bars as a draw for tourists, as tourists were often looking for more authentic activities which brought them in closer contact with Caymanians, so local bars fitted that bill. He also believed that now that the restrictions on numbers meeting had been eased, hotels would see increases in booking of events and conferences, which would then have a positive knock-on effect on the wider local business community, such as transport, tours, food and beverage.

Vaccines for children

At the press conference, health Minister Sabrina Turner said that, at the time of the press conference, Cayman was expecting 2,000 pediatric formulation vaccines to arrive via the British Airways flight. She said some parents were eager to know when they could get their child vaccinated while others were wary about whether it was a good thing or not. Minister Turner said that the government was not mandating child vaccinations of children age five to 11, however she strongly suggested that parents get their children vaccinated, to protect their child and their education, their family and their country. Public Health would be announcing a programme of vaccinations for children next week and it was also working alongside private pediatric practices, district clinics and schools to ensure availability of the vaccine.

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