(CMR) The Ministry of Tourism said it does not expect the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) travel advisory, which placed the Cayman Islands among its Level 4 list of countries, to affect the reopening of the country.
The Cayman Islands is one of 80 countries around the world on the list of Level 4 countries which currently includes the UK, Ireland, and Switzerland, along with 15 Caribbean neighbors. Countries at Level 4 have a high rate of COVID-19.
Although the CDC's travel advisory is regrettable, the recommendation advising travelers to ensure they are vaccinated is in keeping with the Cayman Islands phased border reopening policy, which takes effect on 20 November, the Ministry of Tourism said.
The policy stipulates that all visitors to the Island must be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. Travelers who arrive prior to the reopening date are required to quarantine for periods of 7,10, or 14 days depending on their vaccination status.
“Given that we are close to reopening the borders, it is understandable that this travel advisory is raising concerns, particularly in relation to tourism. But the reality is, the move to level 4 does not automatically mean that the Cayman Islands tourism industry will be negatively affected,” the Ministry said in the statement.
“Looking around the region and beyond, being at level 4 has not been shown to have any long term or immediate negative impacts on the economies or tourism products of our competitors who were placed there before us, and are now at level 3. The Cayman Islands is expected to follow suit,” the statement continued.
Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism said it had not received any indication from tourism stakeholders that this move by the CDC presents a major hurdle. Neither has there been any suggestion that vacation bookings are being canceled due to the CDC rating.
“On the contrary, we do not expect that visitors will be deterred, and the Department of Tourism stands by its projection that the Cayman Islands will remain on a path of slow and steady growth following the reopening of borders on 20 November 2021,” the statement continued.
The Cayman Islands government said it remains confident that stringent health and safety protocols implemented by Public Health will continue to keep residents and visitors to the islands safe.
This is further bolstered by the fact that 80% of the population have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 77% are fully vaccinated, having completed the two-dose course. Additionally, 6,163 people representing 9% of those over 50, have received a third or booster dose. As a result of the Islands' high vaccination levels, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are relatively low. Fourteen patients are currently hospitalized in stable condition, and none have needed to be ventilated.
The Ministry of Tourism urges the public to continue following public health guidelines and personal protection measures against COVID-19 and encourages anyone who is eligible but not yet vaccinated to consider doing so.