Cayman Islands aiming for more limited reopening of borders
The government of the Cayman Islands has announced plans to scale back on a proposal to reopen the territory in October.
According to Premier Alden McLaughlin, with the pandemic still raging around the world and the high level of active cases in Florida, the phased re-opening will begin with property owners or visitors with access to a home here from countries less impacted than the United States.
Speaking at the first press briefing in more than five weeks, McLaughlin outlined how the government will tackle the increasingly controversial issue of reopening Cayman to visitors.
He said that a huge team across government had been considering how to tackle the reopening, given that Cayman is now COVID-19 free “while the virus rages all around us.”
The premier said that the October 1 is still the start of the phased reopening but the goal now was to allow a limited number of people to come to Cayman, quarantine in more acceptable circumstances than the mandated government quarantine and ensure they stay put.
“We have concluded that there is not one measure (alone) that can effectively do that, so the plan must necessarily involve a layer of requirements and protocols to ensure that we reduce to as close to zero as possible the chances that someone who has the virus getting out and mixing in the community.” the Premier said.
He explained that visitors will be tested before they come and need a negative test before they can board a plane. On arrival, they will be given a bio-button but they are now expected to isolate for at least eight days before they are given a test here. These visitors will also be required to wear a geo-fence tag and government will be employing more public health officials to monitor the individuals to ensure that they do not leave the condos or holiday homes where they are in isolation until officials are sure they do not have the virus.
He said that as Cayman has no plans to reopen to commercial flights, at this time, the first visitors will be coming on British Airways flights, which will run fortnightly from London to Grand Cayman from mid-September.
He said the process will be tested on September 17 on the first of these new British Airways flights.
Governor Martyn Roper said that following the last air-bridge next week, British Airways will introduce a regular fortnightly service.
Passengers will book return tickets directly with British Airways reservations and will require written permission from TravelTime here to board the flight.
He said. The people on the flight will be the first to use the proposed protocols, getting a test before they leave London, getting clearance from TravelTime here and then using the bio-button isolation process for eight days before taking another test.
Those with negative tests will be allowed to move about but will remain under observation for several more days.
As a result, only visitors who are planning to stay for long periods will be arriving over the coming months. McLaughlin said he expected that the number would be very limited but they would be more wealthy visitors who will be spending in the local economy.