Campaign wants tourism open now

| 30/11/2020 | 222 Comments
Cayman News Service
Kel Thompson (left) and Michael Tibbetts

(CNS): A campaign to open the tourism sector has stepped up its advocacy with a slick new website. Reopen Cayman, “a group of Caymanian business leaders and concerned citizens”, said it wants to open tourism using resort bubbles. Despite the worldwide surge in COVID-19, an increase here in travellers arriving with the virus and a number of worrying quarantine breaches, the campaign claims it has a “safe plan” for allowing tourists in.

The campaign comes against the backdrop of the US recording more than 238,000 new cases of the virus over the weekend, while the UK logged more than 27,000 and Canada over 11,000. Both US and UK health experts warn of further surges in numbers as a result of the cooler weather in the north pushing people indoors, as well as the upcoming holiday season’s family gatherings.

Nevertheless, the campaign, which according to the website has been started by Kel Thompson of Thompson Resorts and Michael Tibbetts of Clearly Cayman Resorts, is calling for Cayman to use testing in order to allow visitors to come back immediately. Reopen Cayman also appears to be supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the owners of the larger resorts and villas.

However, on the site the campaigners claim to be “motivated by a desire to help the many Caymanians who are struggling but have not had their voices heard”.

While some hotel managers have been vocal about their desire to open up, public opinion is not yet broadly in favour or re-opening to tourism, given that Cayman is keeping the virus at bay, with no community spread for several months.

In addition to concerns that an outbreak could cost lives, there are worries that it would also drive the country back into full lockdown, threatening the broader economic stability that the lack of community spread has allowed internally, supported by the pension cash windfall.

Worried that the tourism sector cannot survive until a vaccine is widely available and the community immunized, the campaign is pressing the economic argument and a plan to open safely.

Despite the surge in cases in every island that reopened to tourism, the campaigners call for rigorous testing, including pre-arrival, on arrival and four days post arrival, isolation in resort bubbles with geo-fencing, and high levels of health and safety protocols regarding staff catering to the resorts.

The website also states that the survival rates have improved with new therapies, suggesting that they do not believe contracting the virus is as dangerous as it once was. However, there is mounting evidence that while more people are living through the virus, they are suffering long and lingering after-effects and complications.

So far government has resisted pressure from the tourism owners, given the risks that remain even under the tightest conditions. While PPE, social distancing and hygiene protocols help undermine transmission, they do not eliminate it. It only takes one traveller to pass on COVID to a staff member who remains asymptomatic between tests and carries the virus home.

Testing is a critical element of managing the pandemic but the nature of the virus means a person can test negative even after contracting it, remain asymptomatic and pass it on.

However, given the economic concerns of some tourism stakeholders, the campaigners said that there are ways to open safely. “There are multiple paths forward to reopen the Cayman Islands to stayover visitors. We’ll need to take a step at a time, but a coordinated plan is required,” they add.

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Category: Business, Health, health and safety, Tourism

Comments (222)

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  1. Brian says:

    I support Tibbetts- he seems to be addressing a serious public health issue for the Caymans with deep economic and tourism implications in a thoughtful way, modeled upon successful examples from other similar islands. Let’s give the tourism reopening plan a try- we will accept some inevitable risk but take the proper precautions through testing and monitoring to ensure the health of the island communities. In this way, we can more safely ensure that everyday Caymanians can get back to work in this important sector for the islands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is that the sound of a squealing pig? I think it’s you that is not reading links that interfere with your point of view. I agree with CNS. Anyone who uses the word plandemic (from the video) clearly gets their talking points from the nutty professor and not from public health experts. Just go away! Selfish p***k!

  3. Anonymous says:

    ENOUGH with this covid crap

    270 thousand people died this year in the US. there are over 300 million people in the US. .0009 percent.

    SERIOUSLY. Enough with this plannedemic.

    More people have died of pnuemonia in the US this year than covid.


    CNS: People who use the word “plandemic” are deep into the “covid is a hoax” conspiracy theory. Just because other people died at the expected rate does not distract from the tragedy of the quarter of a million people who died in the US alone – take a minute to really think about that number. To try to understand it with out referring to Breitbart or some fringe and highly discredited doctor on the internet, read this: Excess mortality during the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)
    Meanwhile, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again on the rise in the US – exactly as predicted by public health experts everywhere. In hard hit areas, hospitals and medical staff are at risk of being overwhelmed. See the Miami Herald.
    This is not normal:, and whichever news source is telling you that it is is lying to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Commenter refuses to look at the link i provided that shows the EXACT mortality of covid vs pneumonia.

      So, why are we not panicking over pneumonia?

      Please……….more people die of cigarettes every year that pneumonia and covid combined. People die, *shock face.

      If the rate is less than .01 percent. Yes, that is 1/10th of a percent.

      life happens.

      There is absolutely no reason to ruin an economy over it. I did not say it was a hoax, stop trying to put words in my mouth to “win” your argument. Simply look at the graph that I supplied that updates daily.

      Covid….its’ a joke. period. Yet we are acting like it kills one in 10 people. Instead of the truth, which is less than one in 1000 people, which is less then pneumonia.

  4. Anonymous says:

    TLDR; Millionaires suggest re-opening island so they can become billionaires

    • ACaymanian says:

      It is dald that of the two bubble proponents one resides elsewhere, if that is so me chileand ya really want to come home, I’ll fix up grampa Dan anoe and rig her with some sail and send fe ya by the Merco ya hear. Oh she night take a lil while to get to ya me son, so make sure ya keep ya self mask up and distance ya self from dem same people who have COVID and who with your hair brain scheme might end up ya . Boy let me get a belt at you and Kel. SMH

  5. Anonymous says:

    As eager for reopening as some might feel, the rest of the world did not bother to do the serious containment/enforcement work, and have mostly resigned to some form of manageable death count until an approved vaccine is meaningfully dispersed. Optimistic approval/production/distribution targets put reopening at mid-late next year. Some of us might not like these timetables thrust upon us from mismanagement elsewhere, but we have to wait for those less-serious, to catch up. Many are still going to die overseas and there will be more sad headlines. We are truly very fortunate we don’t have to participate in that game, and are more-or-less, living “normal” lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      We hope to live more normal lives again here in the USA now that Trump the Destroyer has been landslided out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If nothing else, we can now at least clearly identify and name-match some of the covidiots propelling bad ideas behind the scenes in Cayman.

  7. keke says:

    Sure hope our government isn’t taking ideas from someone safely locked down in an estate in Florida but expects us to open our shores and expose our families to covid disease.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they want to copy Bermuda – they now have a petition calling for more quarantine time, following the return of locally transmitted outbreaks.
      Let’s just keep us the way we are (& increase the fines for rule breakers to $100, 000)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Public promise and private wealth. Same story, different crisis.

    The tourism bogeyman strikes again and the corruption amongst don’t even care how it looks anymore. (Even if our own Caymanians sell us out)

    Black veiling common sense is a Trump tactic.

    Don’t fall for this garbage, only it in for themselves and their millionaires club. All you need to hear.

    About time these pirates and conquistadors squirm in their own filth and demise for all to see.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We’re at enough risk as is. What if all of these travelers who are testing positive were symptomatic and in need of hospitalization? We don’t have the means to facilitate their care and the care of others. We now have over 800 people in isolation, what if even 30 of them were so ill that they needed a ventilator?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I more afraid if Aids. We had no lockdown during Aids. And that still killing people.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sick of hearing the excuse “for the Caymanians” to get what THEY want. Developers use it and now Resort owners.

  12. Anonymous says:

    All for a $1 smh this is where greed has taken us

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Guys. Cayman will not be open until all private businesses that deal with tourism is dead and gone. The fear is too great to think of saving the economy. Your businesses and jobs are the sacrifice Cayman islands is willing to give up to feel safe. You might want to remember that in the future when all the tourist that have been saving their money start traveling again and CIG is begging you to return to where you have no representation. The latest info is 2022 for Cayman to reopen.

    • Anonymous says:

      They’re begging to get back an industry the entire island has turned its back on. Time to invest into something new and sustainable.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Be good to hear Government plans seems they fell off. No press briefing in a while..

    • Anonymous says:

      They have nothing new to say. And wouldn’t want to have to deal with media questions. You will get a press briefing when they have some good news to present so they can pat themselves on the back. My money is one following the first delivery of a token amount of vaccine so they can big up a possible exit strategy to deflect criticism of the home quarantine system.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The “Caymanian business leaders” need to invest in some VR headsets cause this Island be damned if we opening up for Covid. Idiots!

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is a bad idea. No money in the world can buy a life. The think the government did and is doing a great job controlling this virus. Mr P please do not let anyone tell you otherwise how to deal with this virus you are doing a great job. Some people see money over life.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Tourism is dead, especially the cruise ship tourism. There are alternatives to tourism.

  18. Anonymous says:

    None of these people even hire Caymanians

  19. Anonymous says:

    Are you nuts? Covid kills people. Why risk it? For profit? I know it’s hard. We need to look at the bigger picture. We are safe and making the correct decision to keep the borders closed as much as possible. Not saying there isnt a smarter way to deal with quarantine. But 4 days isnt it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The concept that is being advocated by Kel and Michael is misnamed. It is not a ‘resort’ bubble. It is a Covid bubble that happens to be centered at a tourist facility.

    For anyone needing an analogy, think of a Covid bubble as an infection filled boil on the body of Cayman that everyone hopes will not burst open and spread.

    Now with that image in mind, who wants to have a Covid bubble next door or anywhere on Cayman.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Listen to these Trumpsters and we will be back in full lockdown before Easter or all in graves. You fools really take this virus as a joke. Ok believing the people with $$$$ in their eyes.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What a sad excuse for a a person. Shockingly selfish. Risking the health of 60,000 + people for some guy? This is what the world has come to.

    • Anonymous says:

      I love Cayman and have visited for over 20 years. I want to travel back again soon. I quickly reviewed this new plan. Looks like a start. I still would not travel anywhere on holiday where I would have to quarantine more than a few hours ( just to wait for test arrival results). I also am not traveling to a resort bubble. Even when staying in an AI, I have left the property for meals, excursions, nightlife. Other islands who are doing the “bubble “ are running excursions for guests that must be approved. ( St Lucia for one). There are other places open that offer a safe holiday with a bit flexibility, but, this is a good start Cayman!

      • Anonymous says:

        Enjoy St. Lucia. Please try not to transmit any virus to them. Their healthcare system could be overwhelmed, just like the one in the country you are in. You understand that you are prepared to risk people dying because you are not willing to quarantine? What happened to simple humanity?

        • Anonymous says:

          You all flying to Miami to do shopping without caring about the US and then returning to a quarantine. What’s the difference to us flying for a beach retreat and then returning to our home? I am Covid free… just like you are….at the moment.

          • Anonymous says:

            VAST majority of Caymanians not traveling to shop. Only people going overseas are for education, work and health purposes. I fornone would rather order from Amazon than to go to the mess that is Florida and bring Covid back with me. Not all people are as selfish as the American anti masker Trump supporters!

      • Anonymous says:

        We understand that you are happier with risk than we are. We look forward to your return when the virus is eradicated or everyone is immune to it whichever comes first.

  23. Anonymous says:

    You lost me at Kel

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ok, so their plan is to reduce the 14+1 days quarantine to 4 days. That’s all you need to know folks.

  25. Anonymous says:

    What if we don’t want to take an untested vaccine?

    • Just asking. says:

      The developer of the PCR
      test clearly states that it should not be used to test for a virus.

      CNS: Fact check: Inventor of method used to test for COVID-19 didn’t say it can’t be used in virus detection

      The Governor said on one of his news briefing with Dr. Lee that Dr. Lee was getting his info from a very reliable source the WHO who is being instructed by the CCP. And your survival percentage is 99.99 chances of survival if you get the virus.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only loons are going to accept this vaccine. You go ahead, pal. You may think that you and your buddies can sway public opinion with a few clicks on forums, but very few people that I know are going to take it and if you try to force us, there will be pushback.
      Tend to yourself and I will tend to myself. Why do you people feel the need to impose your will on others? Impose your will on yourself and leave others alone

      • Anonymous says:

        No one will force you to have a vaccine. Stay in your silo and enjoy.

      • Anonymous says:

        you sound those guys not wearing mask at Trump rallies,

        Fox Fact of the current mass of hospitalisations in Nev, Penn, Florida and Michigan, 85% attended or had a close family member attend a pre-election Trump Rally.

        Its Darwinism at its best, not that you would believe in that either

    • LW says:

      In reply to 30/11/2020 8:32 PM and others with a similar “anti-vaxxer” mindset:

      (1) If what you mean is that you refuse to be part of a vaccine TESTING program, then simply don’t participate in that testing program. No harm no foul.

      (2) If on the other hand YOU make the choice that you will refuse to take a TESTED vaccine that has been cleared by the UK authorities for mass immunization AND by the Cayman health authorities (who so far have proven to be very conservative and extremely risk-averse in their decisions regarding COVID measures), then that’s your choice BUT please do not lobby to impose YOUR choice on the rest of us and our livelihoods. Let’s live and let live, OK? Here is what I mean by that.

      Not all of us are immune to the economic malaise of the tourism shutdown. We don’t all have the luxury of an income and a lifestyle that is insulated from tourism-derived socioeconomics, nor the good fortune of enduring only mild hardship or inconvenience due to Cayman’s border closures. Therefore, I applaud the efforts of those persons who have taken the initiative to launch and the persons who have supported those efforts to propose and promote fact-based, science-led reopening solutions that will ultimately benefit Caymanian families.

      Let’s get real. Thousands of Caymanians like me have real livelihoods at stake, and real dependents who we sustain. At a personal level, without our incomes from tourism we are in an all-too-real economically devastated unsustainable financial crisis with no real end in sight yet. For many of our colleagues who have built a career in tourism, the negative impacts are not just financial: there are those of us for whom this harsh reality is translating into emotional turmoil and a downward spiral of a sense of loss, increasing frustration, hopelessness and worse.

      Just to be clear, I’m not advocating that vaccination should be regarded as the ONLY silver bullet, all on its own. However, if Cayman’s national authorities insist that borders won’t be reopened unless and until there has been mass vaccination of a substantial percentage of the people who live here, please do not expect that YOUR personal choice of refusing a tested vaccination should mean that THOSE OF US who earn our living in tourism, would or should continue to tolerate keeping tourism dead in the water.

      Thank you for proposing a plan that is “based on sound scientific research and
      medical recommendations and incorporates the best practices of our Caribbean neighbors
      who have reopened successfully.” May sound reasoning and well-informed thinking prevail.

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