Borders open but guest arrivals expected to be low

| 09/09/2021 | 129 Comments
Cayman News Service
Owen Roberts International Airport

(CNS): Government has formally opened Owen Roberts International Airport and lifted the limitations on who can come and go in the Cayman Islands, but there are no real expectations of a surge of visitors as the country moves to Phase 3 of the reopening plan. No commercial airlines have plans to fly here until next month, when the government may lift some isolation protocols. Cayman Airways has published an approved revised schedule but has not added any new gateways for September.

Speaking at Wednesday’s press briefing, Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan confirmed that Phase 3 was being implemented on Thursday, 9 September (today), and that there are no changes at all to the quarantine arrangements. While commercial airlines are now eligible to return to the airport, any guests flying in will need to be fully and verifiably vaccinated and will still need to isolate for five days.

The main change is for residents, who are now free to leave the island without having to justify their reasons, though they will still need to confirm their quarantine arrangements with Travel Cayman for their return.

However, Premier Wayne Panton indicated yesterday that the government will still be asking people not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.

International carriers other than British Airways have no plans to begin flying to Cayman again until next month, but Cayman Airways and British Airways will be increasing their flights. BA is returning to its weekly service on the 27 September, while CAL is rolling out a steady increase of flights to the current three gateways this month.

“Every traveller, whether returning resident or visitor, must still complete a quarantine period, the length of which depends on their vaccination status,” Bryan said, as he confirmed that the isolation protocols have not changed. He said that this applied to Caymanians, residents, work permit holders and people with close ties to the island. Tourists must be fully vaccinated before they can visit.

He said that Phase 3 signals that the country is open for business, but it will not be ‘business as usual’ overnight. Expectations regarding the number of guests remain low, and Bryan confirmed that the hotels and condos are reporting low bookings through to the end of the year.

“Although airlines are allowed to start offering service from tomorrow, the demand for flights from international gateways will determine how many flights and seats the airlines are prepared to offer,” he said Wednesday.

Phase 3 will give the government an opportunity to observe how a slight increase in people coming and going impacts the current system and protocols. It will also provide time to observe the status of the virus around the world, specifically the level of spread in the gateway jurisdictions and in particular the spread of the infectious Delta variant, ahead of Phase 4, which includes the first planned lifting of quarantine for the full vaccinated.

“Although the Ministry of Tourism continues to prepare for the reintroduction of tourism in the safest, most balanced and practical ways possible, we are also continually evaluating the experiences of other countries that are further along this path and seeing what we can learn from their examples,” said Bryan. “I’ve also met with stakeholders and industry partners to ensure that our decision-making process is well informed, and supported by current and reliable information.”

The minister said that government would not throw caution to the wind and the phased plan means that there is time between the phases to review and analyse a variety of options and scenarios – including a ‘Plan B’ in case Phase 4 had to be delayed for some reason, he said.

However, this was all said before an elderly woman without a travel history was admitted to hospital on Wednesday evening suspected to have COVID-19. Officials have still not confirmed if the woman’s test result is positive or not.


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Category: Business, Local News, Tourism, Transport, Travel

Comments (129)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Covid-19 is here to stay and hiding ourselves away is not the answer. We need to get vaccinated and learn to live with it instead of putting our heads in the sand and shutting ourselves off from the rest of the world.
    The vaccine is PROVEN to reduce your chances of catching COVID-19, if you do catch it, it is PROVEN to reduce the impact it has on your body.
    Over 90-95% of hospitalisations and deaths in the US and U.K. are unvaccinated of all ages.
    It’s a binary choice – if you want to live and get back to normal life – GET VACCINATED!
    If you want to die – ignore the science and believe in the Mumbo- jumbo and Facebook experts .

    • Anonymous says:

      We were already living a normal life…

      • Anonymous says:

        What? With no tourist industry. Restaurants closed or struggling. Government spending thousands supporting stipend payments. Limited travel and quarantine. That ain’t normal bobo!

        • Anonymous says:

          What restaurants were closed and struggling? Lol you are funny. Everyone I went to was packed and serving customers. Also, life isn’t normal anymore, this is the new normal. Get used to it

    • Tony Stank says:

      No human life is worth sacrificing for the return to another’s sense of “normalcy”.

  2. Brushup! says:

    This pact government is irresponsible for opening up this place. And for all those who claim they have been held hostage for almost 2 years Please GO Home we don’t need or want you here!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is so stupid.

    We could have done a much better job marketing this as a destination where you could move to for six months or a year and lived COVID-free and surely recouped all of the limited tourism revenue that we’re going to gain between now and when we inevitably lock down again two to three months from now.

    How much will local restaurants that have to close altogether, that have to close indoor dining, or that have to be at 50% capacity lose for every dollar the Ritz and the Kimpton make and send off-shore during that time?

    How much of an increase on stamp duties paid by non-residents on luxury condo sales would it have taken to completely offset lost tourism revenue? How much of an increase in fees would it have taken to guarantee a universal basic income for Caymanians?

    This is one of the few places on the planet where we get to live entirely COVID-free, and there are a lot of people who would happily pay for that privilege.

    • Anonymous says:

      723 Covid cases= Covid free??

      • Anonymous says:

        723 cases that were contained and kept out of the community.

        • Anonymous says:

          Apparently not.

          • Anonymous says:

            Until this ill-conceived reopening plan, YES — we were able to live entirely COVID-free here in the islands.

            Quarantine allowed people to travel freely (albeit somewhat inconveniently), even if they caught COVID during their travels.

            Once through quarantine, there were effectively no COVID-related restrictions (except for some relatively minor restrictions on parades and public transport).

            The fact the 4:39am doesn’t understand this distinction shows exactly what a poor job we did marketing this fact globally.

    • Anonymous says:

      People don’t care about Covid-free…..especially if it means giving up most freedoms. Other islands were very successful in their “come work remote from here” plans because people weren’t subjected to overzealous restrictions. The fact that there was some Covid cases there meant nothing.

      • Kevin says:

        If you can stop the covid at Isolation but you are stupid to say “If there are some covid cases there meant nothing”. Listen bobo. We do not want DEATHS PERIOD. You don’t like it LEAVEEEEEE!!!

        And that is even if you are Caymanian. Go to their country if you like it so much.

      • Anonymous says:

        What freedoms do you have to give up, exactly, to live here in Cayman COVID-free???

        All day every day here I get to go where I want, eat where I want, hug who I want, gather together to celebrate, and so much more — freedoms that the rest of the world hasn’t seen in two years.

        Those everyday freedoms matter A LOT more to me than the relatively minor imposition of having to quarantine for five days on the way home if I have to travel.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am afraid you don’t seem to understand. Most if not all of the rest of the world is already living with the virus. The vaccine has made the incident and severity of the illness much less.
      It’s a small crowd that will come to a place that they can’t freely get to and from very easily.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is it true the ORIA is locked down because a symptomatic Covid person arrived on a Jamaica flight this pm.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is it true the IT IS is locked down because a symptomatic Covid person arrived on a Jamaica flight this pm.

  6. Annie says:

    This is the first sane decision PACT has made. Why should I, as a fully vaccinated person be held hostage for nearly two years?

    • Anonymous says:

      You can leave anytime. So with the dramatics princess!

    • Anonymous says:

      #1. It’s not all about you
      #2. You are not held hostage. You just need to jump through a few hoops and quarantine when you come back.
      #3. Please see #1

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s all about those who refuse to get vaccinated. The entire system is built around this and it needs to end. The real “you” in this situation are the anti-vax people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Flights to Jamaica should only be for persons going home to stay. No return. Flights from there should only accomodate Students/parents who are forced to go there to obtain a student visa.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am fully vaccinated and you’re crazy if you think you still cannot get Covid or worse transmit it. This is the epitome of selfishness. You care for nothing but your own enjoyment but you dont care for even your own life. Very sad. Very pathetic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Karen, you do know that you can still buy new underwear at J. Michael’s? You can’t return them after you wear them though.

  7. Anonymous says:

    199.5 per 100 000 people is the UK death rate for coronavirus. That is 0.1995%, literally less than a fifth of 1%. 10x more likely to die from the flu.

    Wake up. Open up.

    https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/06/22/flu-pneumonia-deaths-now-ten-times-higher-covid/

  8. Anonymous says:

    Watching this press conference. Is the education minister being serious? What an embarrassment

    • Anonymous says:

      She needs to stop reading her brief like a fairytale story to a bunch of kids.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really glad she is the education minister that way our children will learn to invent new words and use other out of context.

      • Anonymous says:

        Novus actus intervenous?

      • Anonymous says:

        Naa JuJu is excellent at the dramatic fairytales but the Health Minister is the champion of new word invention and using out of context. Do not mix um up BoBo.

        • Anonymous says:

          10 @ 11:34pm – Actually I heard TWO ministers fumble with words or words out of context – Minister Turner fumbled with pronouncing “reiterate” and finally used “repeat” instead and Minister Bryan used “allowance” totally out of context and meaning as in “…very concerned about the allowance of a traveler being allowed to board…”

          Was I surprised? NO! Embarrassed for Cayman? Oh yeah! I didn’t even bother to wait for the Education Minister!

  9. Anonymous says:

    In other, late breaking news, bears do in fact shit in the woods.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We have now opened up to visitors who are willing to do the 5-day quarantine (6.5 in real days) and Panton mentioned this yesterday. But, at the same time, yesterday Panton said he is still urging CAYMAN residents to travel only if absolutely necessary.

    Whaaa…? This internally inconsistent logic is being put forth by the former global managing partner of one of Cayman’s most prestigious law firms, Walkers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Check out Trip Advisor, under the post Phase 5 question. The last 4-6 posts are people stating how if quarantine stays, they will not travel. One person is already booked with a secondary trip on hold. They are repeat guests.

  11. Anonymous says:

    While they are at it, once quarantine is dropped logically PACT will allow 15,000 infected cruise passengers to disembark here everyday – that translates to 20 T-shirt sales and what could go wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup- all 15,000 are gonna have Covid and every tourist off the plane gonna be infected and they are going to infect every child, elderly person and iguana.

      Stop and think this out! 52 breaches in August. That’s just those caught in one month! People traveling in and out on “ repatriation/ Walmart “ flights for over a year. It’s been in the community, but people have not been that sick. How many of you have had colds/ sinus infections/ allergies, but didn’t get tested? High vaccination rate on island. People coming in must be vaccinated or they will have to quarantine. What is the panic for?

      • Anonymous says:

        You just NAILED IT, 8:43! This panic over borders opening is nuts! People been traveling in/out and we had plenty of breaches. No outbreaks!

  12. Anonymous says:

    PACT needs to tell us how many Caymanians dying per week from Covid is acceptable to the hotel owners who provided the narrative for the last press conference.

    • Tony Stank says:

      This

    • Anonymous says:

      Then get the damn vaccine and lessen the risk substantially. Foolishness.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am double vexed – BUT.. we now know for certain that the vaccines loose efficacy over time…as someone who got vaxxed in February, I will need a booster jab – I want that BEFORE we open up…AND, we need to line up the fourth plus booster jabs as well…..

        There is too much uncertainty with Delta, Mu and Lambada……so

        “getting the damn vaccine” whilst of course the right thing to do – it does have a date stamp on it……

    • Anonymous says:

      However many the hospitals can handle. Their fault for not getting vaccinated.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not tell us how many are dying per week from all causes so we’d get some perspective? Regardless Covid is here. Can’t blame the “evil” traveler. Pathetic how focused too many of us are on blaming outsiders for all ills. Was Covid flown into China? Nature has a way of doing as it pleases.

  13. Anon says:

    Sadly all the Christmas flights are full. 4000 usd return for last flights for 2 weeks in England over Xmas and new year. Absurd, add more flights now!

  14. Anonymous says:

    We are now free to leave without justifying a reason why?

    I must have missed that when i went away twice this summer.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic news. This ridiculous essential travel and repatriation nonsense has ended. Who is anyone to tell me visiting family in the uk or taking a well earned vacation abroad is not essential. Time to accept the virus will be here one day, get vaccinated,and live with it like normal developed countries have done for a year, we are so lucky we are a up territory and to have the vaccine supply fo free,

    • Anonymous says:

      Right – the US has had fewer than 1 million deaths in the past 18 months proving conclusively that we need to let the virus in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Time to let us in to visit our family members in the Cayman Islands who we haven’t seen in 2 years.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m pretty sure if you had immediate family members in Cayman you could have come, but had to quarantine of course.

        • Anonymous says:

          Of course. It’s easy for the elderly and infirm to travel these days. Especially if English isn’t their first language.

        • Anonymous says:

          Tell that to our family who only has 2 weeks holiday a year. Don’t be such a dick.

  16. Shamed says:

    What part of “we are doomed” is not understood? Vaccinated people are the most dangerous! That will be sick, yet feel well and handing out Covid like oxygen! While we the citizens, especially our children, of this country suffer daily with no socializing and ability to go about our business as usual! All for reduced numbers! I said it before, only the elite and ministers will profit! I pray God covers our people and especially the children!🙏

    • Anon says:

      Wrong. Grow up and stop spreading lies. Get vaccinated, you can’t avoid Covid forever.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t believe in god but tell me… what is your solution. Covid never going away, will be here one day, and you can’t keep it out… likely to mutate into worse than delta as well. you would stay closed forever and have economic ruin and everyone goes back 100 years? What is your plan?

    • Anon says:

      God won’t save you.I suggest you be realistic and get vaccinated, then you will have nith8gn to worry about

    • Anonymous says:

      @3:48pm – I’m sure there are millions of people praying about COVID. given the stats of people who have died and gotten seriously ill. I don’t think God listening.

      Better spend your time encouraging others to get the vaccine. Which is scientifically proven to protect you from COVID.

    • Get Real says:

      My day was fine. Recent data suggested odds of a breakthrough infection are at most 1/5000 and odds of a breakthrough infection being severe 1/1,000,000…people need to relax

    • Anonymous says:

      God gave us brains. Brains to invent vaccines, and brains enough to take it. Love your neighbour and get yours instead of being selfish and fearful. Psalm 23 and all.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Open the border!

    • Anonymous says:

      To whom and why? Do you want to visit our island, or leave?
      I agree we should be open for people to come and go, but after all we sacrificed to get to this point we shouldn’t throw away our covid free community because some people don’t want to quarantine.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Low numbers is perfect as we need to sort out quarantine monitoring and enforcement and a number of other significant problems.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile the cost of fake vaccination cards is going down as more and more become available.

    • Anonymous says:

      People aren’t buying vaxx cards to fly to Cayman Islands. They are proud to be anti-vaxers. They don’t want to show the card. Get over it with the illegal cards.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ahhhh…this place to crowded now…the Big Island of Hawai’i for me–brudda. Aloha . aloha

  21. Anonymous says:

    Bring on the BA flights – from todays Guardian

    “More than 8,000 people in the UK were in hospital with Covid on Wednesday – the highest figure for nearly six months – leading to fears of a resurgence in the virus’ ability to cause serious illness and death among the population.”

    • Anonymous says:

      99% were not vaccinated. Get the jab peoples.

    • Anon says:

      What is your point? An average of 30 thousand cases and 100 deaths a day since the us ended all restrictions in July. That’s what modern developed respectable givernments do… open up and get on with it. Covid will be here in 50 years and keep mutating. Move on.

      • Anon says:

        I mean Uk not us in my comment re 30,000 and 100

      • Anonymous says:

        The UK has roughly 1000 times the population of Cayman – by your calculations of a thousand people dying in the UK every 10 days, we should be happy with one of us dying every 10 days just so you can sell shite to tourists?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Delta raging in the US and UK, borders open, quarantine rules ignored, what could possibly go wrong.

  23. Anonymous says:

    My state does not do digital verification. They are not planning on doing digital verification. I only have my CDC vaccination card. My state will notarize my immunization record. What will the Cayman Islands government accept ? By now the government must know the majority of states in the US Are Not doing digital so what will the Cayman Islands government accept? Why can’t tourist get an answer?

    • Anonymous says:

      Lobby your government

    • Anonymous says:

      Our Government doesn’t have any answers.

      • Anonymous says:

        They surely don’t. Doesn’t seem like any decisions can be made on anything. No disrespect, but seriously…….

    • CSF says:

      Caymanians vaccinated overseas can’t get anywhere on this issue yet either. Quite a few have been vaccinated in FL and have no hope of any QR code there whatsoever. There are ongoing discussions on this issue, apparently. Could become a big challenge for students seeking to come home for Thanksgiving/Winter Break.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous says:
        09/09/2021 at 3:51 pm
        Lobby your government

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s the CI government that won’t accept them. Everywhere else will. You think our government cares about what one tiny little island in the middle of the sea thinks? CI needs to bring the fix.

        • Anonymous says:

          5:32 Cayman Islands Government IS my government. Multigenerational Caymanian. They stupidly chose a format that isn’t even available from most vaccine providers….QR code. Hell, CIG is just getting started adding QR codes to those vaccinated at HSA. There has to be an option for them accepting some sort of supplemental evidence we can provide to corroborate CDC card.

          It is not a US government problem as no need to show QR codes here……or anywhere else in the damn world.

    • Anonymous says:

      there is an answer…having just traveled to and from cayman. if you do not have a ” verifiable vaccine “, you are in quarantine for 10 days ( which is actually 12).
      your vaccination card requires a QR code. no exceptions.

      • Anonymous says:

        No thank you. Not spending my holiday time pretending I’m in prison, paying outrageous prices to stare at 4 walls.

      • An non says:

        I know…my daughter was vaccinated at her doctor’s office, I foolishly believed that would be MORE verifiable. Nope! 12 day quarantine, cause 10 days is 12. Stupid rules, doesn’t matter, because the virus is endemic anyway.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And ours have that???
    Canada accepted our card that anyone could make!

    • Anonymous says:

      That is the crazy thing on all of this. Every country is accepting the CDC card except CI. No answers on what one should do.
      Every country accepting the HSA card- no problem. Why is the CDC a big issue? Because it was reported that it could be found on the black market. Any paper card could be found on the black market, but other countries are trusting the people. They know the anti-vaxxed are not one to say they are vaccinated for any reason…not even to travel to CI.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Border

  26. Anonymous says:

    Government better revamp what is acceptable to confirm covid vaccine. They had stated CVS But CVS in Florida only gives cards with vaccine information no bar code no smart card. So how is this going to work ?

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