Thursday 1 October, 2020

Cayman Islands announces plans for phased reopening of borders

The Cayman islands will begin reopening its borders from September 1.

"The road back to 500,000 stay over visitors is to use the same model that we used before while we adapt," said Cayman's Minister of Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell of the phased reopening of the country's borders, under a conservative, very low risk protocol.

"It is as conservative and best practice as we could possibly do," said Minister Kirkconnell.

The Reopening of Borders Committee has advised the Ministry of Tourism in a variety of areas, allowing it to formulate the following solution for the reopening of borders. The process will be managed by Travel Time, the government's travel planning authority, which was established for the purposes of travel management to and from the Cayman Islands during the pandemic.

Visitors will be allowed to enter the Cayman Islands under what Kirkconnell has referred to as a "quarantine pathway" which will be managed by Travel Time.

Cayman Airways and British Airways will be the airlines used during the initial 30-day period.

1. A negative coronavirus test must be taken 72-hours prior to travel to Cayman.

2. An online application must be completed, with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The application will be evaluated by Travel Time. Permission will then be either granted or denied. If permission is granted, a document will be provided that can be presented at the airport.

There will be a charge associated with this process, given that there are government expenses involved with managing these risks.

3. The plane ticket will then be purchased and accomodations will be confirmed.

4. Upon entry into the Cayman Islands, visitors will be provided with a registered health monitor device or "bio-button" with geofencing properties. This will monitor an individual's vitals on a dashboard.

5. Visitors will be taken from the airport to a location to undergo 5 days of self isolation with the bio-button/ geolencing device, after which they will be tested for COVID-19 and discharged if negative.

6. The visitor will be required to wear the health monitoring device/ bio-button during the duration of their stay.

During the initial 30-day period, priority will be given to those who live in Cayman who have been travelling for medical reasons, young people and parents who are going and returning to/from school, with managed numbers. "We are allowing ourselves to see how this reopening can be monitored and managed in the best possible way," said the Minister.

Some countries will not be allowed entry to Cayman, based on coronavirus risk.

"This new norm will affect visitors from the time that they arrive at the gateway city and board the plane and when they get on transport... there are going to be less people than before and fewer people at accommodations," said Minister Kirkconnell.

"Our industry will have to be charging more in order for it to be a profitable industry," said Minister Kirkconnell of the reduced volumes of travelers and the heightened logistical requirements surrounding travel to Cayman.

The minister has indicated that this protocal will be re-evaluated in October based on its degree of success. 

At the end of six-months, the soft, phased reopening should have concluded.

"We have not managed this pandemic based on public opinion," said premier, Alden McLaughlin of the added costs and inconveniences associated with the re-opening protocol.

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