We also recognize that keeping our borders closed indefinitely is not feasible, sustainable and cannot continue from an economic standpoint. Government is aware that with the rate of infection locally standing at less than 1% the prospect of re-opening is a subject of concern for many in our community and for good reason.
Minister of Tourism, Honourable Moses Kirkconnell
(CMR) As Cayman continues to see significant improvements in the number of COVID-19 positive cases the government confirmed today that it will be partially reopening the borders to international travel on September 1 through a multi-tier phased system.
It was shared today that safety and security will remain the drivers of decision making for how to implement the re-opening of the country.
Visitors will be expected to foot the bill for their own safe entry to Cayman including paying for the bio button health monitor, COVID-19 testings
Despite the fact that there is considerable risk to re-opening the penal members of the government confirmed that they will be implementing a phased re-opening process to minimize the level of risk for the Cayman Islands.
Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell shared during today's press conference that the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare to re-open the airport for travelers. He is chairing the re-opening committee that is working on the policy on how to re-open as safely as possible. However, many of the details of precisely how the re-opening will occur are yet to be decided upon.
There are three pathways to re-opening and the minimal risk pathway will continue until August 31. The pathway starting September 1 will still be a quarantine pathway and the Minister of Tourism described the approach for September “a very practical protective soft opening for the country.”
Some aspects of the phase 1 re-opening for September 1 include:
- Incoming travelers will have to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure. A negative result is required.
- An online application process will be required with critical questions that need to be answered and processed by TravelTime. TravelTime will be the governing body and is responsible for authorizing the travel.
- Travelers will have to adhere to social distancing protocols at the airport.
- A biometric health monitoring device will be provided and required to be worn during the person's stay on the island. The devices will be monitored but much of those details are still being ironed out.
- A five-day self-isolation period is required followed by a second COVID-19 test
- Ongoing health monitoring will take place throughout the visit
Minister Kirkconnell shared that a number of agencies compile the re-opening committee including his ministry, civil aviation, port authority, health services authority and the governor's office. The government is re-opening its' borders with input from all the different entities that have expertise in their specific areas.
He acknowledged that Cayman was experiencing an unprecedented number of visitors before the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to that level of success will require an adaptive approach. Cayman has the highest daily rate in the region with some half a million stay-over visitors recorded at its peak.
He indicated that the country would not be “throwing open our doors and throwing caution to the wind” to undo all of the hard work of this current administration. He stressed nothing will be implemented without the ultimate approval of the Health Ministry, Health Authority and Chief Medical Officer.
Admitting the committee has a lot more work to complete Kirkconnell noted that eventually, the government is hoping that the third phase will include quarantine free travel.