(CMR) The PACT Government is moving ahead with plans to reopen the country to quarantine travelers on September 9 and to fully reopen the country's borders without the need for quarantining on October 14.
The government had hoped to have 80 percent of the population fully vaccinated by September 9; however, that date has now been moved to October 14. Presently 69 percent of the population has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
With reopening plans moving ahead, this means that as of September 9, the Cayman Islands will no longer only be accepting repatriation flights, but commercial flights are expected to resume service to the islands.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Premier Wayne Panton explained that under Phase Three, which starts on September 9, vaccinated visitors would be accepted; however, they will still need to quarantine. However, as of October 14, vaccinated visitors will no longer need to quarantine.
Meantime, the premier has expressed concerns that there are still persons who refuse to take the vaccine. He pointed out there will be a greater possibility of community transmission when the borders reopen, and as a result, it is important for persons to get vaccinated.
“We accept that our people have the right to have the view that they have…but I want to say we are going to as a government continues to promote the uptake of the vaccine,” he said, urging persons to get vaccinated.
Panton said the government is aware of the risks of reopening but said, “We cannot afford to keep our borders closed indefinitely.”
Public health protocols including masks and social distancing may have to be reconsidered for reopening on Oct 14, the premier indicated. He said regulations may change to reflect the increased level of risk.
Governor Martyn Roper has also urged persons to get vaccinated. He said just the over 8000 doses of the vaccine which are not yet used would expire at the end of October. With 2000 persons waiting for their second dose, just over 3000 persons are still able to get vaccinated from this batch of vaccines.
“If we cannot use those vaccines, they will be wasted…let us not waste this incredible precious resource,” Roper said.
Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan also pointed out that it was important for tourism workers to be vaccinated with the borders set to reopen.