Airport and port closure extended

| 11/04/2020 | 64 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands’ borders will remain closed until at least the end of May as Cabinet has extended last week’s order closing the airports and the ports to passenger traffic to protect this country from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The cargo ports will remain open for goods and the airport for emergencies. The only people likely to pass through the borders will be those leaving on charters organised by government to fly foreign nationals home and return Caymanians stranded abroad.

At Thursday’s press briefing Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed the decision to keep Cayman’s borders closed through the end of next month but he has indicated on several occasions over the last few weeks that Cayman is likely to be closed to all visitors until the end of the year.

The premier also said that no cruise ships would be calling here, despite international media reports that some cruise lines were claiming they would be back at sea in May and calling on Caribbean destinations including Grand Cayman. “They made those publications without any consultations with us,” he said.

The optimism of the cruise companies appears to have been misplaced, given that in an order issued on Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its ‘no sail order’ for cruise ships in American waters, possibly for as much as 100 days, due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus around the world.

The CDC directive harshly criticised the industry’s handling of the outbreaks of the virus on multiple ships. CDC director Robert Redfield said cruise ships should not set sail again until COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency, the agency rescinds or modifies the order or for 100 days, whichever comes first.

According to the order, the CDC found that “cruise ship travel exacerbates the global spread of COVID-19, and that the scope of this pandemic is inherently and necessarily a problem that is international and interstate in nature and has not been controlled sufficiently by the cruise-ship industry or individual state or local health authorities”.

Cruise ships are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19 and other diseases because the ships confine large numbers of people to small spaces for long periods. “Everybody has witnessed the tragedy within the tragedy of this pandemic,” Redfield said.

In recent weeks at least 10 ships reported crew or passengers who tested positive for coronavirus or experienced symptoms.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a public relations disaster for the cruise sector and some people believe this could spell the beginning of the end for the mega-ship industry. The ease with which COVID-19 spread on the ships where passengers were infected and how badly the virus was handled on those ships have added the cruise companies’ woes. Even before the pandemic, they were already losing of favour is some ports of call, as well as dealing with an appalling environmental record and the growing awareness of the industry’s exploitation of workers

Despite President Donald Trump’s suggestion that cruise companies would be part of the US business bailout, the industry was not included largely because almost all of their ships are registered and companies incorporated overseas, so they pay very little in taxes to the US government.

Although Trump, who is close friends with Micky Arison, the chairman of Carnival Corporation, is a huge supporter of the industry, it was not included in the $2 trillion stimulus package, leaving the future of the sector in question.

Nevertheless, despite the multiple problems and the extended shutdown the cruise companies now face, some economists believe the industry could bounce back, with some lines positioned better that others.

Carnival, which is believed to be one of the cruise companies facing serious financial problems, said last month that while it did not need a bailout, it would like a loan guarantee from the US government.

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Category: Business, Tourism, Transport

Comments (64)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When will a decision be made about an extension past May 30th for the opening of the borders? We have vacation plans beginning June 1st. That’s really cutting it close for a May 30th opening…especially if it doesn’t happen.

  2. Anon says:

    Look on the bright side they are getting more time to complete the runway upgrades and to fill the prehistoric duck ponds. With the original plan, working at night only, they would have been at it until Christmas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When they going to open flights to and from the sister Islands?

    Or if not, since the Islands are two different countries why the same regime. They should just make regulations for Grand Cayman.

    I don’t want to fly on your aircraft but happy to take a boat.

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean not wanting to fly on aircraft? There’s no ferry service. The aircraft are rugged and do the job.

  4. Anonymous says:

    On day 400 of self isolation. I believe Chris Pratt has intentionally removed me from hyper sleep. I believe he is working with my husband on a plan to use all cookware and cutlery to make a single Tuna sandwich. Please send back up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The way forward is to break into the all inclusive holiday market and offer affordable holidays to europeans, I don’t think the high end holiday model will work here anymore! Mexico, Jamaica and most other Caribbean islands do very well offering these holidays!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Because you have use of a private plane makes ‘some of you’ no different – we all have things to do! Why work permit holders need to go and come back?

  7. Anonymous says:

    As a retired US citizen who has a home on the Brac where we spend most of our time….now stuck in the US not being able to return we are greatly concerned over the welfare of our home there. Can’t there be an exception for us to return to stay for 6 months and self isolate for 2 weeks upon arrival in June?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have permanent resident status assume you would be able to return on a charter intended to evacuate people in the same way that others returned from the UK. However if you think you would be able to self isolate no – the BA passengers got 2 weeks supervised lock down in a hotel and suspect it will be the same for anyone coming in. If you are worried about your home maybe ask one of your neighbors to check it out, or hire one of the people from the tourism industry there who now has no job to do it . Sre one of the hotels could set you up with a staff member.

    • John Smith says:

      NO! Even in the USA folks are being restricted in some areas from going to vacation/second homes. I also have a condo on 7 mile beach, I understand your concern, but this is exactly what should not be done.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the last place on Earth you want to seriously think of being in for the for-seeable future . Maybe in June 2021 .

    • Tracy says:

      I have a cousin on the Brac who takes care of 8 vacation homes. Maintenance, landscaping the works. Email me for more info: thx

  8. Anonymous says:

    Look. If the persons who have the virus are neither named nor monitored by the police, they will do as they please. Remember, just because one has the virus, doesn’t mean they feel terribly ill. Again, what is the message? If you have the virus, go home to your family. I’m unsure what our leaders underlined less, human behavior, or economics. The longer Cayman is locked down because of the government’s determination not to shame and punish wrong doers, the longer it will take for Cayman to get back to even. As things stand, we are probably back to pre Ritz, days.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It goes against natural justice to punish the innocent and turn a blind eye to the guilty. I’m genuinely concerned with a certain ego in times like these.

  10. JTB says:

    And as the cruise industry implodes, the CI Government is pushing ahead with its appeal of the cruise port referendum case …

    Do they really believe that project isn’t dead in the water?

    • Anonymous says:

      Our leaders must still think that if they can get the port built, they will profit gloriously! I would never vote for anyone who wants to take taxpayers’ money to enrich themselves! Does anyone really believe that the cruise lines will be rolling in money again in a “few” years? Guess again! It ain’t going to happen!

    • Anonymous says:

      @6:41…dead in the water…I see what you did there! The cruise industry is gone for the foreseeable future. They have been a massive part of the problem. Floating petri dishes.

    • Anon says:

      Is it not evident that the cruise industry is kaput???? Now how do you feel about committing $400,000,000 to coral and beach destruction for that elegant offloading pier?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I need soil to plant more vegetables, can the hardware store please re-open at least for a week

  12. Anonymous says:

    I don’t believe that can deny a resident returning in any case but will have to isolate.

  13. Hernández says:

    Good day

    How do we go about this charter?

    I have family stuck in La Ceiba that would like to come back home .

    Is there a phone number I need to call ?

    Also there a lot of work permit holder which would like to return back home.

    CNS: I have added the graphic with the travel hotline info to the article.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier

    I can understand your closing of the Airport until the end of May… BUT at some point there are some of us that need to travel. There are Caymanians and Permit Holders / Residents that will need to go and come back. I can accept the 14 days if I return and some of us can use private aircraft. Is there any reason residents can not come back in should they leave?

    Some business have not stopped and we should do all we can to help them, Everyone will understand the isolation on return.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Atleast try yo best to open up other business places so others can take of their responsibilties back up……….MAKE THE RCIPS ON DUTY DOING THEIR DUTIES . PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR CHILDREN❗

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry they are not listening to you, they are listening to themselves and the fit to be tied, hysterical media.

  16. Anonymous says:

    With all the selfish idiots flocking to the beach for a party – being so clever to tell police they are “exercising” while drinking alcohol – we’re entering the steep edge of the curve now. Keeping the ports closed won’t matter. Alden should have closed the beaches instead of assuming the idiots around here would be responsible. Half of these nitwits will soon be on a plane back to their own countries and not give a crap if people die here because of their irresponsible behavior.

    • Anonymous says:

      And as expected, they are again making decisions on knee-jerk reactions that will not punish the offenders (They already had their fun), but screw everyone else that had nothing to do with this shit on the beaches.

      But it’s the thought that counts right? Not results, Not the economy, Not people’s jobs or anyone’s livelihoods. Are our policies hysterical and radical enough to make us look good on camera. That’s what it’s about and that’s what’s important.

      No one is dying is irrelevant, let’s destroy people’s lives regardless, just to make sure.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s right, must be the expats. I agreed with everything you said until “back to their own countries”

      • Anonymous says:

        I said “half.” And I believe half are expats, many of them young and probably working in the water sports/hospitality industry until recently.

    • Anonymous says:

      Was a great comment until “back to their own countries”

    • Anonymous says:

      Mostly Caymanians as they proclaim Easter is ‘their time’. Bonkers!

  17. Anonymous says:

    no news here….
    the real update and proper question for cig would be: what circumstances wouls allow the airport and port to be open again?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Carnival has raised $6Bln just in the last week, diluting shareholders. That cash is estimated to be approx 6 months normal burn for the company. They are going to have to cancel orders and lay off staff to stretch that out further than Sep-Oct without a return to business before then, and that’s before the lawsuits.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a favor to Donald Trump and his family business interests, the Government of Saudi Arabia bought 8% of Carnival Cruises last week. Carnival was eligible for no American Government bailout money as they pay no federal taxes as their ships are flagged under Panama, Bahamas and Bermuda. The senior management and major owners of Carnival are big donors to Trump and so this move was very important for Trump in Florida.

  19. Anonymous says:

    After Carnival’s treatment of Cayman in the days leading up to the closure of our ports can we please make our closure to them, and their other wholly owned cruise lines such as Costa and Princess, more permanent? Their seeming disregard for the health and safety of the people of these Islands was shocking go many. We should retrain the Caymanians who relied on them to work in other roles, including in relation to stay over tourism. Longer term we will be better off without them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely concur. Anyone who would ever get on one of those floating garbage ships again is doomed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its time to focus in the over night guest and forget these floating virus ships!

        • Anonymous says:

          Right, because only the most brilliant among us realizes that airports don’t transmit viruses at all…..

          Nice to take such a nonchalant view point when your living doesn’t directly rely on cruise ships. You’re not affected, So XXXX those that do.

          • Anonymous says:

            It is your view that is non chalant and selfish just because you rely on cruise ships. Its time to rethink your business just like the rest of us do when our industries or professions are negativelu affected or become obsolete.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well of course airport transmit viruses! When the cruise ship passengers go there to fly home!
            80% of some counties cases are contributed to ships.

          • Anonymous says:

            When I visited Lisbon last year, there was a lot of graffiti that suggested cruise tourists were the same as human pollution. Lisbon is really struggling with the social and infrastructure damage of cruise tourists, but there are a lot of merchants with businesses that sell trinkets to them. Grand Cayman was heading in that direction, especially if the cruise docks were built. I for one, would rejoice if cruise tourism never came back, or at least no more than 1 million passengers a year here. Maybe you and the trinket sellers should rethink your business models.

          • Anonymous says:

            Cruises are done. Sorry, but you need to figure out a new way to live. I don’t mean to be harsh I really don’t, but it will be YEARS before the cruise industry will be able to bounce back if ever.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is not just cruises. It is the attitude of Carnival in particular. I see no reason not to allow Celebrity, Disney etc. with appropriate safeguards, but Carnival should be banned from our waters. They seem to have tried to bully us while our government was trying to protect us.

        • Anonymous says:

          I only remember Mr Dwayne Seymour protecting us and then the Deputy Premier undermining his decision.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone that would step foot on a cruise to work or travel should have their head examined. I would think they’re suicidal aside from stupid.

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