Steps towards January opening detailed

| 12/07/2021 | 98 Comments
Cayman News Service
Owen Roberts International Airport

(CNS): The government has now published the full plan to take Cayman Islands all the way towards fully opened borders by the end of January. The six phases of the opening plan, outlined in documents on the government website, show the next phase is set to start on 9 August, when people who have been fully and verifiably vaccinated will no longer need to use a GPS system during their five days of isolation, which will be based on trust, but a negative exit test will still be required.

Government will be using that time period to assess local impacts and build capacity to manage the increase in the number of travellers anticipated with the lifting of all quarantine restrictions in September for people with a full course of a verifiable vaccine.

On 9 September, as the country moves into Phase 3 of the reopening plan, subject to the achievement of an 80% local vaccination rate, the limited introduction of tourism during slow season will begin. The numbers will be restricted via a flight slot management system to allow government to manage the increase in arrivals while still quarantining those who are not vaccinated.

It will also give the hospitality sector time to develop capacity in the slow season to prepare for dealing with larger volumes of travellers in the high season, when more border restrictions will be lifted. Insurance coverage will be required for all inbound travellers and quarantine will still be allowed at all hotels and other tourist accommodations, with periodic spot visits for vaccinated people in quarantine.

The government is waiting until the 9th of that month to prevent a clash with the movement of students to and from Cayman and allow local schools to settle into their academic years before tourists numbers increase.

Then in Phase 4, scheduled to begin on 14 October, which is still in low season, government will remove the requirement to quarantine for all securely verified vaccinated travellers.

“We anticipate that the rate of local vaccination will be substantially adequate by this time to allow for the safe increase in tourism and relaxation of restrictions,” the premier said last week when he announced the new measures. “However, during Phase 4 unvaccinated travellers will continue to be required to apply for entry on the Travel Cayman Portal.”

At that point vaccinated travellers will be required to make a declaration of travel and include their vaccination status on the portal, with a declaration certificate issued and vaccination checked on arrival. Public gathering limits may also be decreased at this time, depending on whether there are any increasing public health risks. During this phase fines will be mandated for travellers failing to abide by this process, and school staff will be required to undergo surveillance PCR testing.

Phase 5, scheduled to start on 18 November, will see further loosening of travel restrictions. Children under the eligible vaccination age will be allowed in with vaccinated adult tourists without having to isolate. During this phase PCR testing will be required for local unvaccinated children older than 5 who travel prior to being allowed to return to school, and there will be surveillance of unvaccinated front-line workers by periodic PCR testing.

Finally, on 27 January government hopes to lift all remaining border restrictions and even fully open for cruise tourism. Officials anticipate that by then there would no longer be any quarantine restrictions for any travellers and no restrictions on public gathering limits or public transport capacity.

Officials have said that the plan for reopening the Cayman Islands is built on safely and gradually reintroducing tourism to the economy and travel for residents. The plan is a phased approach, which allows for assessment at each phase. Assessments will be conducted using the best available medical science and data to determine transition to the next phase.

Transition between phases will be determined by the chief medical officer’s assessment of prevalence rates in the main Cayman Islands travel markets, local vaccination rate, prevalence of variants of concern, levels of hospitalisation and death rates. As restrictions are relaxed, Public Health will continue to monitor the local prevalence rate and the spread of COVID-19. The trigger for introduction of Public Health intervention in all phases will be two non-related community clusters requiring hospital admission.

“To date no country has successfully reopened without having to go back into some form of
lockdown or restrictions,” Panton said. “Given our patient and careful approach to COVID, we have the opportunity to be the first.”

He said that government continues to be cautious because of the examples where countries have reopened only to see the virus spread. The British Virgin Islands reopened their borders too soon and are currently under lockdown again in response to a COVID-19 outbreak that took the number of active cases to 480 from close to zero within a week.

“We have a chance to once again defy the odds, but that will require the cooperation of the private sector, government and all citizens. This map to reopening may include roadblocks and detours, but this plan gives us all something to work toward,” the premier added.

See the full details of the plan on the government website here.

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Category: Business, Health, Local News, Medical, Tourism, Travel

Comments (98)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had to apply for a WP, but from my recollection there is a VERY LONG list of medical requirements that you MUST provide. You seemed happy to provide the gov with those and didn’t find them an issue. Can’t pick and choose when you’re on a WP here. Your choice is to leave. Make a decision.

  2. Brian says:

    How does one verify they have had the shots? I have a paper when I received the shot is that good enough for the Cayman Government?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will smoke pots be provided for fall? Looking forwards to going backwards. I hated electricity anyway.

  4. Annie says:

    I realise that this is an inexperienced government. But really this is just silly. We need a real plan. I know government’s bestie, the Compass has been all over the BVI issue, but the BVI has less khan half of our vaccination rate. If, and a big if, our Government really wanted to effect change they would move forward with the expat vaccination requirements. As they have not done so, I think all of their posturing is disingenuous.

    • Anonymous says:

      And you have so much experience with reopening after a pandemic @ 7:27pm?

      Stop posting here and go and offer yourself up to run this show.

      • Anonymous says:

        Florida Governor had no COVID managing experience either…but he is a LEADER with a VISION.

        • Anonymous says:

          There are several types of vision.

          Good, fanciful, bad, blurred, and so on

          By the way, we were asking you to offer yourself up instead posting on here

      • Annie says:

        You are correct, I do no have any experience in reopening after a pandemic, nor do you, unless you were born over 100 years ago. But what I do have is common sense. And….an 80% vaccination requirement is a red herring. It is a patently unachievable goal. Therefore the plan is not real. Therefore there is no plan.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So it seems Covid-19 will make a full-blown return to the island starting on January 27th as all restrictions on travel are lifted. We should be limiting entry to vaccinated travelers only, cruise visitors included!

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course only vaccinated travelers should be allowed. Those that wish to not be vaccinated can quarantine. The virus is no longer a pandemic, but is endemic. We cannot stay closed forever. Which is why we were hoping Government would grow a pair and scare the selfish into doing the right thing. But no. No gonads in the lot.

    • Nobody says:

      Did you know about 75% of all hospitalized from Covid are fat or obese? And many of the others have an underlining health issue like diabetes or high blood pressure. Go ahead and look it up. Makes sense to limit entry to only the skinny, healthy ones and then work to rid the island of the sick and fat. For all of our sakes of course.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is there a step included to finish the airport connector road and finish west bay road work before we open. Traffic is only getting worse and we have no additional people yet let alone the people who will be moving here to work in the industry again.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Panton states that they are following the advice from Public Health England: strange that the UK Isn’t following that advice then and are opening up fully from next Monday!
    Additionally why does the plan make no mention of booster vaccinations either for residents or visitors?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bermuda is up to 50 flights a week (link below). Similar vaccine levels to Cayman; unvaccinated have to quarantine. Minimal cases since May and no hospitalizations for 6 weeks.

    Life can go on cautiously.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There’s only 1 industry government listens to here and its the Dart industry. If Dart tell govt that they’re moving on to another island to start investing unless the place opens up properly, the plan will change overnight.

    Nowhere in the world is 80% a thing, its a very strange number to come up with and we must start calling out Dr Lee on his advice at this stage.

    Globally its becoming clear that therapeutics especially early stage work just fine in treating this virus. It’s also becoming clear that the virus is nowhere near as deadly as had been feared a year ago.

    People keep saying look how many survive with the vaccine, and yet ignore just how many survive without it! There is nothing to fear here so we must open up and start living again, we stand to suffer more from the dump seeping into our water supply than we do from this common cold (which is all the ‘delta’ variant really is)

    Open up. Enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are other places that have had better vaccination uptake in less time. Eg. The Province of Ontario, hampered by Federal vaccine delays, has now rapidly and successfully administered first doses to 79.4% of those 12yrs old and up, fully vaxed at 57.2% and rising every week. 80% is a distinct possibility for them. History will show that part of the problem in this crisis were morons conflating Covid-19 with the common cold, which clearly, it is not.

    • Annie says:

      Not so sure I agree with you analysis. Sure Dart my have pocket politicians, but really closure hurts their bottom line. Think this is more homegrown idiocy, and pandering. We know for certain it is not based in science, so we can remove that from the equation. What is left. Either hubris or desire for re-election or power.

    • Annie says:

      80% of eligible persons would be one thing. Hard to get get to, but possibly achievable. 80% of the population including children is a farce. Why does our Government even put this baloney forth. It is embarrassing in it’s obvious lack of candor?

  10. Freedom says:

    I’m ‘Caymanian’ having lived and raised my family there since 2000. Reading this reopening plan while traveling with my family in the USA makes me very sad for Cayman. The world has moved on, overly cautious Cayman is shooting itself in the foot. Send a government delegation to Florida / New York for a week. Go visit some hospitals, hotels, beaches and malls – you will instantly see you have radically overreacted.

    Stop living in fear Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is more chance of the Cayman government comprehending Calculus than them traveling to the US to admit that they were wrong this entire time. Their plan is to delay the reopening for as long as possible so that people forget about covid and then no one will call them out for the ridiculous overreaction of shutting borders for 2 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      We believe in talking snakes and that a man split an ocean with a stick. Until we ditch said mentalities we’ll always live in fear here.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Any chance the CIG will please allow 1 or 2 more flights to Cayman during the full month of August?

    August has been fully sold out (actually, they were never actually posted…).

    And right now the September schedule are fully ghost flights at this point so cant even book early September.

    So frustrating trying to figure out how to get home. Not fair.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is so ridiculous there is no available way to return to the island between now and end of August. 100% sold out with absolutely no options.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fly in September and stop moaning!

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s not possible. I had a long standing booking to travel to Cayman on 18 September but BA cancelled that yesterday. They clearly don’t believe in CIG’s reopening plan!
        Despite being a caymanian and property owner, I’ll rebook to Antigua or Barbados

  12. Anonymous says:

    One the one hand at least this is a plan. But on the other it’s based on a goal that everyone knows is 100% not possible given the holdouts and anti vax crowd. This government is lying and playing games just like the old one so for starters let’s make sure they’re not patting themselves on the back so hard any longer.

    Secondly enough is enough…WP holders (myself included) get vaccinated now or cancel their permit and leave the damn country. Any overstayers or other entangled immigration problems…get vaccinated or leave. All healthcare workers, educators, retail employees, taxi or aircraft employees vaccines now…construction too. Offices of more than 25…vaccine now!

    All these holdouts are showing you they literally do not care about you. They don’t care about your job in tourism…they don’t care about you seeing your family or having visitors or getting off this rock. They don’t care it is slowly bankrupting the country and for whatever it’s worth every unvaccinated person I know is Caymanian. Caymankind my ass. They’re happy to sit here without the shot and let all the rest of us suffer.

    Open the border and let the chips fall where they may!

    • Anonymous says:

      You might end up with mass exodus of WP holders. Your economy will crash without them.

      • Anonymous says:

        If their third world mindset overcomes their need to earn money and seek a better life in Cayman, then so be it. But I doubt that will happen, most will comply and get on with their lives.

      • Anonymous says:

        Almost all wp holders have the damn vaccine.

        • Anonymous says:

          No they haven’t ..There are a lot of construction workers and their families from places like Jamaica and the Phillipines who refuse to get vaccinated for usually religious and conspiracy theorist reasons.

          The Work Permit holders in the business community are well educated and understand the reasoning for getting their vaccination and the majority have taken theirs. I seriously doubt they will give up their lucrative jobs here and if they we have an unlimited amount of vaccinated people that want to come here to work and live..I think we will be just fine.

          • Anonymous says:

            Im sorry but I have also found this to be true. That’s why I don’t understand why Panton is dragging his feet with legislating the vaccine as a requirement at least for renewals and new.

            • Anonymous says:

              Many well educated professional people do not wish to take the vaccine. It is their human right not to! Why should there be a requirement for WP renewals when these people have been living among us? Makes no sense!

          • Anonymous says:

            I suppose generalizations are always going to get us here. But I work in construction and everyone expat on our sites are vaccinated except for two. Caymanians on our site (more of them than you’d think so keep the jokes to yourselves) none have the shot. When I asked why they say they don’t want it. They don’t care about tourism workers. They don’t care about visitors or anyone leaving. They’re just being selfish.

            And yes panton needs to shit or get off the pot and make it a damn law already. Hurry tf up and do it!

          • Annie says:

            Omg, ask a Jamaican why they haven’t been vaccinated. I do every day In my job. You will usually get a response that the vaccine alters there DNA, or makes them sterile, or causes them to turn into flipping spiders. All of it foolishness and internet troll trash. Mandating vaccination for work permits must be done NOW. No amount of reason or science will sway the uneducated. They are not reading the Wall Street Journal. They are believing internet lies.

      • Anonymous says:

        Now that a great vision

        I kinda like you

    • Anonymous says:

      You are all suffering because 30%? of the population won’t do as you say. Think about that. A good percent of those folks have a good reason not to risk their health with a shot of chemicals. They all let you and your family choose. What next? Shall we wash your feet?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What a disappointment this must be to the tourism industry. The CIG has shut them down, berated them to hire locals, constantly moved the goal posts to further sow confusion in their business plans and now posted a 6 step plan to bring tourism back–6 months from now. Even if the magical 80% is hit there will be no tourist pouring in with flight slot management. It will be too restrictive unless you have regular flights. Now, the real question is would anyone actually bet on the 27 of January? The answer is no and the excuse is already baked into the recipe: we still are not at the required vaccination level to open. We will report back next month after reassessing numbers.

  14. - says:

    How is this for a ‘soft stick’ to go with the ‘carrots’ that do not seem to be working that well. Seems like a good idea to me – From the Guardian this morning –

    “More than 20,000 French people a minute booked vaccine appointments in the hours after Emmanuel Macron announced that cafés, restaurants, shopping malls and trains would be out of bounds for unvaccinated customers from next month.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like an excellent idea. Unfortunately PACT is too afraid to make any actual difficult decisions.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Just like flu COVID is here to stay.


    • Flu cases on the upswing in Cayman – Cayman Compass, Jan 2, 2018
    • Up to 200 flu cases reported per week – Cayman Compass Feb.19,2020
    • Cayman sees spike in flu cases – Cayman Compass Feb,6 2020
    • Flu cases continue to climb – Cayman Compass March 11, 2020
    • The flu season started in September and, according to the Health Services … Last year, Cayman ended 2019 with 6,474 cases of influenza-like illnesses, Oct 14, 2020

    🛑 The most important question today is not now many got the jabs, but:

    ARE CAYMAN HOSPITALS have PROPERLY TRAINED and EXPERIENCED STAFF TO TREAT COVID and STAY on top of the latest coronavirus developments and scientific research on PREVENTION and TREATMENT.

    Because, I suspect, in the abcense of covid patients, they may not be experienced in treating COVID and do NOT stay on top of the latest coronavirus developments and scientific research on prevention and treatment.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This seems to be all about CIG surviving and everyone else Caymanian and expat can leave or starve. How long can a parasite live without a healthy host? Wait and see.

  17. Truth says:

    Put Caymans economy on the covid death list. How will it pay its bills, paychecks, subsidies, etc. in the years after Covid? The same way it opened up for business. Plan accordingly.

  18. jasper says:

    This new government is a disgrace and embarrassment paying lip service with a fake plan reopening, never reaching 80% of their made-up numbers

    • Anonymous says:

      I would also add announcing their reopening plan at a luncheon where there was no opportunity for the media to ask questions about the plausibility of their numbers or plan. So much for transparency.

  19. Anonymous says:

    And the Brac economy continues to boom. People from Cayman are now discovering the two safest places in the world -CAYMAN BRAC AND LITTLE CAYMAN.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sadly the only thing that will break this impasse is if someone comes in illegally and triggers a mass outbreak. That will drive the numbers getting vaccinated up as well as making the continued closure of the air border pointless.

  21. Anonymous says:

    No tourist…….just say it directly!

  22. Anonymous says:

    The plan lacks a plan!

    What are the steps that will be taken to get us to the 80% level?

    Will government employ a carrot or a stick?

  23. Anonymous says:

    We all, know it will never reach 80%. And the current figures are all wrong.
    I personally know 10 people who visited relatives and friends. They all got vaccinated and have now left for the UK/USA and Canada, please just give me the true % of permenate residents who have been vaccinated and not travellers.

    Maybe CNS a could ask this question at the next press briefing.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Since we cannot ever meet the requirements of Stage 3. I.e. the 80% threshold, everything that following is bull crap. Might as well promise everyone a unicorn. How can PACT waste our time with this garbage. They know this is a lie. They said they would be honest, but they are 10 times worse than the PPM. And that is a difficult milestone to achieve.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe Panton said as close to 80% as possible. Please read all the information before commenting.

      • Anonymous says:

        In their plan it says for Phase 3, “Subject to the achievement of an 80% local vaccination rate…”

  25. Anonymous says:

    Many local businesses that employ Caymanians need to attend trade functions off Island. Is it true that we cannot attend these desperately needed events? We cannot survive much longer. Please be reasonable.

  26. Anonymous says:

    there is no plan to re-open. 80% is virtually impossible.
    the real plan/truth is that cayman will fully re-open when the rest of the world is back to normal and covid has been declared simlilar risk to that of seasonal flu…..which will likely be next spring.
    thanks for nothing pact.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. This “plan” does nothing for us. We’re stalled out at 64% vaccinated after begging, bartering and bribing. 80% won’t happen.

      Worthless plan as long as that “subject to 80%” is part of it.

  27. Anonymous says:

    NOW….. it’s January 27…..such #%*# ! Maybe!

  28. Add more flights says:

    Please add Repatriation flights so persons can return home.

  29. Concerned says:

    We will never get to the mythical target of 80%. And what the anti-vaxers don’t seem to understand is that they become vectors for the virus to mutate and continue to spread. Very sad really. I get that it is “your” choice but it isn’t just about you…. It is about those that can’t get vaccinatede, the infirm and the vulnerable…. And the fact that by not getting vaccinated the virus will continue to mutate and spread through you. Thanks a billion!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is quite the opposite of what you believe in.

      • Link Please.... says:

        Can you cite any reference to your claim that viral mutations occur in fully vaccinated individuals? Please cut/paste the link.

      • Anonymous says:

        7:23 it is not about beliefs – it is about facts. Indeed science vs fiction. But please keep enjoying the unicorns.

    • CSF says:

      That’s all true about anti vaxxers elsewhere. But it’s not true about those in Cayman as things stand with the borders closed and no covid in the community. Anti vaxxers in Cayman are not reservoirs of variants at this time.

      The anti vaxxers in Cayman are, however – and because the government appears to be beholden to them and determined to protect their well-being above all else – preventing the rest of the population from being able to live a relatively normal life, coming and going with more manageable restrictions, and they are damaging the economy and therefore the well-being of future generations of Caymanians.

      How long is this sustainable? Other countries appear to be accepting that covid is now endemic.

      • Anonymous says:

        The endless bullying and ignorant, greed driven attacks against those who have chosen not to take the vaccine (for medical reasons or by choice) is atrocious! We live in a democratic society where respect for others prevails. I applaud our government (past and present administrations) for putting lives before greed. Instead of the barrage of attacks and ridiculous “anti-vax” attacks why don’t you all engage your brains and look at new and innovative ways to sustain and attract new business to our safe environment?’ For example, movie stars are here peacefully filming and enjoying the safe environment we have built. The many remote workers who have taken up residence here are loving it! What’s wrong with cultivating a new way of life? Like it or not, life will never be the same post COVID.

  30. Anonymous says:

    So just tell me. We aren’t opening in January are we? There is NO WAY we’re going to reach 80% vaccinated, even if we wait til Jan 2022.

    • Anonymous says:

      Should have opened this summer at the latest.

    • Anonymous says:

      January? We don’t even get to September and Phase 3. Plans for phase 3 onwards are completely pointless with that80% threshold requirement- and I see zero plan for getting to 80% other than wishful thinking. Hell, even Kenny’s lottery is dependent on us getting to 80%.

  31. Say it like it is. says:

    We are still in the dark as to whether and when other airlines will be allowed to compete with Cayman Airways, particularly on the Miami route.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Vaccinations don’t make you immune.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The delay is ridiculous.

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