Tourism lobby urges gov’t to drop COVID-restrictions

| 13/06/2022 | 118 Comments
Cayman News Service
Owen Roberts International Airport departures

(CNS): Now that the United States has lifted its COVID-19 test requirement for air passengers, the local tourism lobby is urging the Cayman Islands Government to ease all of the restrictions on visitors here as well. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association said that if things like mandatory masks and testing are dropped, the sector will easily achieve the target, set by Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, of 200,000 visitors this year.

People flying into the US no longer need to have a negative test, which means that if a visitor tests positive while on their trip to Cayman, this will not prevent them from re-entering the United States. CITA President Marc Langevin said this was welcome news for the industry.

“It will remove the constant fear and concerns of people of having to quarantine in Cayman if they tested positive,” he said. “Hopefully, this will allow the government to fully review other restrictions, including Travel Cayman, mask mandates and testing and vaccination requirements.”

He pointed out that during the last CITA meeting Bryan had said his goal for stay-over visitors this year was 200,000. “If those regulations were progressively removed, we anticipate that Cayman would easily surpass that figure in a large way and lead us to a full recovery,” Langevin added.

Bryan had told CITA that he was fighting hard to get the restrictions lifted but he needed the tourism sector to also lobby for the dropping of restrictions, as he explained he had to persuade his caucus colleagues and constituents to support this.

Given Cayman’s significant vaccination coverage, with 94.5% of the population having had at least one shot and illness among those infected now extremely small, there is a case for lifting all restrictions and handing responsibility for navigating the virus back to the people.

As of Friday, active case numbers had fallen to 995, a significant drop from a high of around 1,800 last month. Of those infected people, seven patients were hospitalised, three of whom were unvaccinated. With less than 300 new cases last week, the average number of new cases per day is down to around 60 infections, most of which are very mild and short-lived.


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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (118)

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  1. Concerned says:

    Any idea when Covid Restrictions will be lifted? No feedback as yet from the CIG.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you thought Covid-19 was dead and gone, think again. Early signs indicate that the UK may be at the start of a new wave of Covid infections driven by BA.4 and BA.5 – while new data suggests these variants may have evolved to refavour infecting lung tissue, which could make them more dangerous.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/14/uk-at-start-of-new-covid-wave-driven-by-ba4-and-ba5-new-data-suggests

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh do grow up. If you’ve had a 4th jab you’ll be fine

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      • Anonymous says:

        Frankly who cares!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Nonsense. I’m in the UK, we had a small spike for BA.2 and have a tiny ripple for BA.4 (actually probably more to do with the Jubilee throngs). Yet you quote a politicised (like much of Covid) article from the left-wing Guardian. We have had no restrictions for months, including no discrimination against unvaccinated, and the sky is still not falling in. Endemic viruses come an go in ripples. The number in hospital “with” Covid is the same as in late May.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Getting tired of replying to this political nonsense. I’m in the UK, we had a small spike for BA.2 and have a tiny ripple for BA.4 (actually probably more to do with the Jubilee throngs). Yet you quote a politicised (like much of Covid) article from the left-wing Guardian. We have had no restrictions for months, including no discrimination against the unvaccinated, and the sky is still not falling in. Endemic viruses come and go in ripples. The number in hospital “with” Covid is the same as in late May.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The question that should be asked is why a British Oversas Territory is continuing to ruin it’s economy by echoing the policies of the politicalised bio-health security state control agenda of the US, rather than the policies of the UK, which ended all restrictions, for all, some months ago, and which has seen no significant change in infections.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Drop the testing, keep the masks. Testing are causing the problems, not the masks.

  2. doug says:

    Why does Cayman hate stay over tourists?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because the airlines don’t offer the same kickbacks to certain people as the cruise lines do.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Medical experts are seeing children with a surprising number of different viruses inside them, which they believe is partly due to the children not being exposed to usual viruses, thanks to pandemic precautions.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10913639/Children-infected-three-viruses-time-COVID-measures-worn-immune-systems.html

    What happening in Cayman is criminal.

    “Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards?” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8072811
    Some Key points:
    ✔️…we were able to demonstrate a statistically significant correlation… between the negative side effects of blood-oxygen depletion and fatigue in mask wearers
    ✔️…we found a combined onset of respiratory protection and carbon dioxide rise when wearing a mask
    ✔️We found a similar result for the decrease in oxygen saturation and respiratory impairment …
    ✔️ … masks were associated with headaches
    ✔️Skin temperature rise under masks was associated with fatigue …
    ✔️The dual occurrence of the physical parameter temperature rise and respiratory impairment was found …
    ✔️A combined occurrence of the physical parameters temperature rise and humidity/moisture under the mask was found in 100% …
    ✔️… confirms that relevant, undesired medical, organ and organ system-related phenomena accompanied by wearing masks occur in the fields of internal medicine…
    ✔️… increased rebreathing of carbon dioxide (CO2)…statistically significant increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) blood content in mask wearers
    ✔️…increased breathing resistance when using masks …a statistically significant drop in blood oxygen saturation…with the effect of an accompanying increase in heart rate…an increase in respiratory rate
    ✔️A mask-induced drop in blood oxygen saturation value… or the blood oxygen partial pressure… can in turn additionally intensify subjective chest complaints
    ✔️mask-induced changes in blood gases towards hypercapnia (in-creased carbon dioxide/CO2 blood levels) and hypoxia (decreased oxygen/O2 blood levels) may result in additional nonphysical effects such as confusion, decreased thinking ability and disorientation… including overall impaired cognitive abilities and decrease in psychomotoric abilities
    ✔️… changes in blood gas parameters (O2 and CO2) as a cause of clinically relevant psychological and neurological effects
    ✔️…masks also interfere with temperature regulation, impair the field of vision and of non-verbal and verbal communication…
    ✔️It is known from pathology that not only supra-threshold stimuli [a stimulus that is large enough in magnitude to produce an action potential in excitable cells] exceeding normal limits have disease-relevant consequences. Subthreshold stimuli are also capable of causing pathological changes if the exposure time is long enough.
    ✔️mask-related breathing resistance is also of exceptional importance… the mask acts as a disturbance factor in breathing and makes the observed compensatory reactions with an increase in breathing frequency and simultaneous feeling of breathlessness plausible (increased work of the respiratory muscles). This extra strain due to the amplified work of breathing against bigger resistance caused by the masks also leads to intensified exhaustion with a rise in heart rate and increased CO2 production.
    🛑The mask-induced adverse changes are relatively minor at first glance, but repeated exposure over longer periods in accordance with the above-mentioned pathogenetic principle is relevant. Long-term disease-relevant consequences of masks are to be expected.
    🛑Even slightly but persistently increased heart rates encourage oxidative stress with endothelial dysfunction, via increased inflammatory messengers, and finally, the stimulation of arteriosclerosis of the blood vessels has been proven
    🛑A similar effect with the stimulation of high blood pressure, cardiac dysfunction and damage to blood vessels supplying the brain is suggested for slightly increased breathing rates over long periods
    🛑Elderly, high-risk patients with lung disease, cardiac patients, pregnant women or stroke patients are advised to consult a physician to discuss the [face mask] safety
    🛑Patients with reduced cardiopulmonary function are at increased risk of developing serious respiratory failure with mask use
    🛑the severely overweight, sleep apnea patients and overlap-COPD sufferers are known to be prone to hypercapnia, they also represent a risk group for serious adverse health effects under extensive mask use
    🛑Patients with renal insufficiency requiring dialysis …further candidates for a possible exemption from the mask requirement

    🚼CHILDREN
    • The long-term sociological, psychological and educational consequences of a comprehensive masking requirement extended to schools are also unpredictable with regard to the psychological and physical development of healthy children.
    • ..children react even more sensitively to masks, the literature suggests that masks are a contraindication for children with epilepsies (hyperventilation as a trigger for seizures) … special attention should also be paid to the mask symptoms described under psychological, psychiatric and sociological effects with possible triggering of panic attacks by CO2 rebreathing in the case of predisposition and also reinforcement of claustrophobic fears
    • The mask-related disturbance of verbal and non-verbal communication and, thus, of social interaction is particularly serious for children.
    • Masks restrict social interaction and block positive perceptions (smiling and laughing) and emotional mimicry.
    • The proven mask-induced mild to moderate cognitive impairment with impaired thinking, decreased attention and dizziness as well as the psychological and neurological effects should be additionally taken into account when masks are compulsory at school and in the vicinity of both public and non-public transport, also regarding the possibility of an increased risk of accidents ‼️…

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not criminal. The USA only dropped repatriation/travel testing requirements 48 hours ago, and CDC will be reviewing that policy every 90 days.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The comment is not about testing.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I never understood why people lose their stuff over wearing a mask during a pandemic which affects everyone’s health. Why do they not lose it over laws that protect only the individual such as helmet laws and seatbelt laws? I think you are an idiot if you don’t wear a safety belt or a helmet on a motorcycle but at least it doesn’t put others at risk.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Because helmets work, masks obviously don’t. If the worlds biggest user of masks pre and during Covid, (China) can’t stop infections, how on earth do you expect an open society to do the impossible?
          Almost everyone I know that has caught Covid, (twice in my case) wore masks when and where required yet still succumbed. They are no more effective than the stupid spray they insist on using at supermarkets.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Humans were not designed to breathe 🫁 through a barrier. Human physiology is greatly affected when breathing process is artificially compromised.
        Breathing is of the most basic functions of the human body
        Forced alteration of this fundamental function is CRIMINAL.
        Imagine you are ordered to hold your $hit indefinitely, or to always run?

        “Long-term disease-relevant consequences of masks are to be expected.”
        Those who issue orders MUST, or expected to know that.
        They owe a duty of care to all people affected by their decisions/orders.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Zzzzzzzzz

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh but you all just voted them in! You still have a few ” long winters” up ahead! Enjoy!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Whereas the authoritarian has beens and wannabe’s for the PPM and CDP/UDP were railing against ending lockdown bubble and “reopening borders” last year.

      We would have zero tourism and business/leisure mobility had they had their way.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Was in the ORIA departure lounge last week. Dozens of people not wearing masks, and airport personnel didn’t say a word to any of them. Just walked on by. If we’re not enforcing the rules, then why don’t we just drop them? Ridiculous.

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    • N says:

      Thousands of cruise ship visitors disembark every day and spread out through the community without masks or any form of vaccination proof required by CIG. Stay over visitors right now have to get a Travel Declaration in advance and provide upon arrival a prior day’s negative test. On what basis are these 2 rules in any way equitable or reasonable?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Still banging on about the unvaccinated when there are more vaccinated people in hospital.

    Give it a rest.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    By the time Cayman drops the covid restrictions (Jan 2023 if we are lucky) and opens our doors to tourist, the recession will have kicked in to full gear and we will have missed the post covid tourism boom and tourism will be down in the doldrums. What a mess. Ever heard the the phrase “make hay while the sun is shining”? well – we better open our doors and get as many tourist here as possible while they are still traveling. Read the news you morons. Covid is over and the recession has started! Mark my words – By the time our politicians wake up and change these draconian rules, it will be too late.

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    • Moving on says:

      Soooo true 10:48pm. Well said . I cant believe we are held hostages by this regime of insensitive so called politicians, who are just self-serving. They are going to live to regret their stupid actions. It is time to move on. Now focus on getting Caymanians employment and assist them where you can with their utility bills , and lift all covid restrictions. How long can you carry on? You are the only Caribbean Island still having Covid restrictions and playing stubborn?

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    • N says:

      You make a lot of sense. Visitors need time to plan, get tickets, reservations, etc, etc. Dropping the restrictions and preparations for travel by January 2023 will cause Cayman to miss most if not all of the high season for a third year.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Covid is over? Tell that to the doctors, nurses and ICU patients all over the world. Wanting something to be true does not make it true.

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      • Anonymous says:

        “It looks as though these things are switching back to the more dangerous form of infection, so going lower down in the lung,” Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, said.

        Sato’s experiments indicate that BA.4, BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 replicate more efficiently in human lung cells than BA.2, while further experiments in hamsters suggest that BA.4 and BA.5 may cause more severe disease.

        These variants also appear to have a higher reproduction number than BA.2, while further experiments by Sato’s lab indicate that BA.4 and BA.5 may be resistant to immunity induced by earlier Omicron infections (similar to Altmann’s findings).

        “Altogether, our investigations suggest that the risk of [these] Omicron variants, particularly BA.4 and BA.5, to global health is potentially greater than that of original BA.2,” Sato said.

        It also put paid to the idea that the virus is on the verge of merely turning into common cold. “It clearly isn’t, and there’s no pressure on it to do that, really,” said Griffin.

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/14/uk-at-start-of-new-covid-wave-driven-by-ba4-and-ba5-new-data-suggests

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        • Anonymous says:

          Nonsense. I’m in the UK, we had a small spike for BA.2 and have a tiny ripple for BA.4 (actually probably more to do with the Jubilee throngs). Yet you quote a politicised (like much of Covid) article from the left-wing Guardian. We have had no restrictions for months, including no discrimination against unvaccinated, and the sky is still not falling in. Endemic viruses come an go in ripples. The number in hospital “with” Covid is the same as in late May.

  8. Retail sales person so sick of the injustice says:

    Drop the masks now. It is pointless and just enrages cruisers. (Why this government panders to cruisers is beyond me, but they do). I had a family in the store where I work cursing at me for asking them to wear a mask. It is not my policy. It is Sabrina’s, it is Wayne’s. They want the mask then they can come and live my reality.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    End the madness. It has been too long.

    Covid is here to stay. We can live with it and take necessary precautions without all the forced mandates, the majority of which make little to no sense.

    These ‘rules’ and mandates are costing the Government hundreds of thousands of dollars and they’re restricting tourism numbers.

    It’s time. Drop the mandates.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    How will this improve tourism numbers? There’s a wider economic issue right now with inflation and the price of oil affecting airfares. Americans can barely afford to get to work right now with the price of gas. Interest rates have increased so Americans are paying more for their mortgage on top of this. Only an elite few will be able to come here anyhow.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is the “grasping at straws” strategy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Have you seen what most accomodations here cost? We’re already catering to the elite. The good news is that this is a tiny rock and there are a lot of rich people out there.

      That’s who we’re catering to. Rich folks, not the average American who is struggling to make ends meet.

      People still want to come here. There is no reason to keep it difficult other than to needlessly employ people at travel time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We cater to the top 10% of Americans, i.e. 34 million people

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      • Anonymous says:

        Our customer base aren’t even on DoT radar! Apparently they live in Portsmouth UK, a ferry departure town servicing Guernsey and Jersey. Who knew? Here’s a tacky animal leather handbag!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Inflation is a factor. However many middle to high income people are working remote. Their reduced commute is one of the reasons many have even more disposable income than pre-pandemic. With unlimited PTO they are looking for ways/places to spend their money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Those are the ones we want… the ones with money… not the over fed, newly wed and nearly dead cruisers….

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    • Michael says:

      Things have gotten more expensive in the US, but the kinds of Americans who’ll travel regularly to Cayman are still doing alright. You were never a destination for Americans of modest means.

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      • Anonymous says:

        My wife and I came here for a 7 day dive vacation in 1984 and stayed at the Royal Palms. For a very reasonable fixed price we got (If I remember correctly), 12 dives, 2 meals/day and our room. We were both Graduate students, had very little money. We were able to save up for this and it was one of our fondest vacations. You are wrong – Cayman did and still could be attractive to folks without millions of dollars. Cayman has priced itself out of our market – so now you get rich snobs that look down on you.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It was but unfortunately it can’t be anymore. I think everyone looks back to a time when things were affordable here but given the cost of everyting these days we have no choice but to cater to high end.

          Believe me when I say that most of us here would rather have regular people around rather than crypto bros and b-list celebrities.

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          • Anonymous says:

            You can go to a Sandals all inclusive resort including flights for far less money than it would cost to come to Cayman. Thus has to be one of the most expensive places in the world for accommodation. There’s very little history here compared to other Caribbean islands. Cayman is pricing itself out of the tourism business sadly

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        • Anonymous says:

          Those were the golden years , but sadly long gone now.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Elite Millions I think you mean. There are a lot of people the current issues of inflation & high prices don’t even come up in their outlook. Its not even a blip on their radar. The same goes for the elite here in Cayman, who don’t flinch at the cost of travel via the front end of the plane or even a private jet, that the rest of us who man the oars
      could never experience. There are two different worlds on the same stage now.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Kenneth Bryan bowed to them and became their mouthpiece.

    I can imagine “the call” now:

    ‘Marc, you know more about the business than I do, so I agree with you. But that’s not the Government’s position, as yet.’

    ‘Ken, all you have to do, in caucus, is to assume that position in favour of the TA, that way, when you go public it’s not really against Government’s position, then we will come right behind you and back you up. See?’

    ‘Yeah, that could work.’

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Testing NO, Masks YES, FOR TRAVELING

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    • Anonymous says:

      Feel free to wear your mask for as long as you want and anyplace you wish.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Masks are only effective if you put on a surgical grade one prior to boarding your flight then don’t take it off or even touch it until you get off the plane. How realistic is this?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands Tourism Association is at it again. You can always rely on them to put the lives and health of Caymanians at risk in pursuit of money.

    The CITA should bully the weak and inexperienced PACT government like they did the last time they wanted to have their way.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Pea brain kenneth actually has a few brain cells working!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    In fairness, the USA was always the big obstacle, not Cayman, and CDC revision order only became effective yesterday. I do agree that we should match that policy and shut down Travel Time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In fairness… Cayman has nothing, NOTHING, that can compare to the expertise of the CDC. You don’t like their recommendations based on science, get your own department and then issue ‘obstacles.’ Quit complaining or grow some ba.ls Cayman!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Why are we going to lift the mandates here knowing that it’s helping the island to control the virus and giving us some leeway to walk around without any mask. Also it seems to me Marc doesn’t know what he is doing and not really fit for president of cita.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Seems to me you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Of course I know what I’m talking but seems like you don’t have a education and a idiot 🙂

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please crawl back under your rock

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    • Michael says:

      I’m not sure how you figure the travel restrictions are helping control the virus. The virus is here, it’s there, it’s everywhere. You can get it as easily from another Camanian as you can from a guest. This “we’re controlling it” argument made sense in 2020, when the virus really hadn’t made an appearance in Cayman. But that ship has now inevitably sailed. It’s now an endemic global respiratory virus that’s subject to community spread everywhere, including Cayman. The beach lover arriving on a plane is no more risk to you than your neighbor is.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    if america coughs we sneeze, so im sure we will follow them asap.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And that will be good. We have no expertise here. If we can’t educate ourselves, we will be forever dependent on others for knowledge. Cayman, get better educated.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    No one outside Cayman takes PCR tests seriously any more. In the UK there are whole cities that don’t have any testing stations at all and so one has to rely on mobile facilities, sometimes from 60 or 70 miles away. I’m here in Miami trying to find somewhere that will give me a PCR test results within 24 hours so I can fly home. I’ve found nowhere at all except the testing station at MIA, and even they don’t guarantee. So now I have to go to MIA the day before my flight to get tested.

    If the UK and the US have let it go (and they only wanted LFTs), why are we still clinging on? Face it: Cayman is as rife with Covid as anywhere else. No point in keeping the stable door locked so long after that horse has bolted.

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  19. Anon says:

    It’s about time CIG., stop the foolishness and stubbornness. Get back to normal. Learn to live with Covid, the UK lifted all restrictions and I can tell you, it’s a big difference. If you are scared consult the JAM PM or PM Boris Johnson for advise.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Time to drop all restrictions. NOW. Not at end of June. NOW. Let the kids out of their masks for the last couple weeks of school.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Which ministers oppose dropping the mandates?

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Drop the testing but keep the face mask
    It’s not hard to wear a face.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Yup. Give it up already cig. Having to apply to travel time is so ridiculous.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Shut down Travel Cayman yesterday

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  25. Anonymous says:

    “…if a visitor tests positive while on their trip to Cayman, this will not prevent them from re-entering the United States.”

    Of course it will. But they’re not going to need to take that test now.

    Testing requirement needs to be dropped ahead of July 4th weekend! Plenty of people waiting till the last minute to make plans.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    How do they not realise that anyone visiting from the UK:
    1. Takes the test and gets the travel certificate.
    2. Then goes about their daily business, mixing with whoever they choose.
    3. Then spends several hours, maskless, in Heathrow airport (one of the busiest on the planet)
    4. Then sits for 12 hours on a plane full of other passengers who are travelling to Nassau and only needed to have the test within 72 hours of travel. Breathing the same air and removing masks frequently to eat and drink.
    What exactly did they think they were achieving with this policy?

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    • Tiny Tim says:

      Get your test done exactly 23 hrs 50 mins beforehand and if you get a sniffle before the flight no problem.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not even 24 hours, it’s the day before. So if your flight is 4 pm, you have the previous 40 hours in which to get tested.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The US agenda is driven by the economy and capitalists, so naturally CITA and the profit mongers want to use that model here.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Vote these imbeciles out.

    All about money. Not about health.

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