Cayman Islands closes to new arrivals

| 20/03/2020 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Owen Roberts International Airport closed to new arrivals on Thursday, as preparation began for the three-week border shutdown in an effort to keep the COVID-19 pandemic at bay. Customs and Border Control said that from today (Friday, 20 March) only Caymanians, residents, essential personnel and those with connections to Cayman arriving on flights from the UK will be allowed to enter the country.

All of these arriving passengers will also be subject to strict 14 day isolation protocols.

Non-residents and tourists will not be permitted entry and should not be boarded on incoming flights. Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, tourists are not approved for landing and tourists who remain in the Cayman Islands are encouraged to leave by Sunday, when the last passenger flight will leave.

During the three-week airport closure ORIA will still receive cargo flights and be available for air emergencies.

As Caymanians and legal residents return over the next few days, their temperature will be checked on arrival and those with a normal reading will be given instructions on self-isolation. Those who may be sick will be referred to healthcare professionals.

Students returning home will be given the option of staying in isolation at a hotel that government has been offered, which will be empty due to the shutdown of tourism. However, no provision at this stage has been made for non-student residents who will also be returning this week, and they are being advised to isolate at home.

The facility is being managed by the National Emergency Operations Center, which has booked 100 rooms for 200 students, as they will be allowed to stay in pairs, and more rooms are available if required.

By yesterday afternoon, around 66 students had said they planned to use the hotel rather than go home. These students are all expected to return on the British Airways flight on Sunday night, the last plane to land at Owen Roberts before the airport closes to passenger flights.

Officials have already been stationed at the airport to oversee the process and to assist the students. They will be taken straight to the hotel from the tarmac of the airport and will remain in isolation for two weeks to ensure they are coronavirus free before they can return to the wider community.

Around a dozen students who returned earlier this week have already been taken to the hotel, where their voluntary quarantine has begun. The accommodation is free, including meals and access to WI-Fi. House rules for those choosing to stay at the facility have been provided to the students.

The hotline for booking a room at the facility is 1-800-534-6555 or people can email NEOC@gov.ky

Meanwhile, government has booked rooms at another hotel for essential staff whose homes will be impacted by returning residents. This separate facility is to ensure the seamless delivery of services by the HSA, uniformed services and 911, where staff may have a student or other returning resident coming home, but because of their work they cannot join in the family isolation.

Five people have already been approved to move in but there could be dozens more who may need to use this hotel.

Isolation accommodation will also be available on Grand Cayman to those arriving on flights from overseas who plan to continue on to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, including students.

Given the heightened concern regarding the limited resources on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman as well as the high percentage of elderly persons residing there, Sister Islands residents are urged to remain on Grand Cayman for their two week isolation period at another hotel facility.

“We strongly urge persons not to continue through to the Sister Islands,” officials stated. “We are therefore giving them the means to do the responsible thing and stay in place in Grand Cayman until the self-isolation period has expired or another provision can be made which can provide similar assurance.”


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Category: Business, Tourism, Transport

Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why is the Port Authority Director allowing transient sailors to anchor within 200 yards, and live-aboard in situ for weeks, in Governor’s Harbour and Mitchell’s Creek, contrary to the ban on that activity in the Penal Code – let alone the current viral backdrop? When are they being told to leave?

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    • Anonymous says:

      If they are already here how is it any different to stay overs in a condo? Or put it another way, we tell non residents sleeping on hard land that they cannot leave but you want to tell someone in a boat that they must leave? You got something against yachties?

  2. Say it like it is says:

    What about these private jets that fly in every day, they all have ‘connections”.We need to define this word “connections”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Stop making stuff up. As Clifford confirmed airport shut to private flights on exactly the same basis as commercial.

  3. Anonymous says:

    At least the runway& Airport work can get done over next 4 weeks without any issues

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  4. Anonymous says:

    What about homeless caymanian or caymanian coming in from other jurisdictions on repatuated flights..

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  5. Lomart says:

    I think the answer to that is a definite NO.

  6. Anonymous says:

    ” only Caymanians, residents, essential personnel and those with connections to Cayman arriving on flights from the UK will be allowed to enter the country.”

    &

    “Non-residents and tourists will not be permitted entry and should not be boarded on incoming flights. Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, tourists are not approved for landing and tourists who remain in the Cayman Islands are encouraged to leave by Sunday, when the last passenger flight will leave.”

    So can a uk tourist visit if they are flying from uk?

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We have created a new system to help us address questions we receive from the public for the press briefings. We are getting hundreds every day and it’s impossible to read and deal with them when the PB is in process as there are a lot of moving parts to being able to do the Zoom meeting, take notes and respond to their info in real time.

So we are asking people to send their questions each day BEFORE NOON to: covid-questions@caymannewsservice.com

This will give us a chance to read, sort and consolidate the questions so that we get to the issues that people are most concerned about.

Thanks for your help. In the meantime the ones you have sent will be sorted and collated.

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