Phase 5 of the Cayman Islands reopening plan commenced today. Premier Hon. Wayne Panton announced this at a COVID-19 community update press conference held at the Government Information Services Studio in the Government Administration Building (GAB).
A major takeaway is that all children, Caymanians, residents or visitors, arriving as travellers, will now take on the vaccination status of the adult they are travelling with, resulting in no need to quarantine for the majority of travellers. The children of unvaccinated parents will continue to have to quarantine, upon arrival, albeit all for a recently reduced shorter period of time (now for 10 days instead of 14).
Also addressing the conference were Health and Wellness Minister, Hon. Sabrina Turner in person, Tourism and Transport Minister, Hon. Kenneth Bryan via Zoom as well as Chief Medical Officer Dr. Autilia Newton and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez. Prayer was led by Pastor Gerald Paul of Safe Harbour Lutheran Church.
Highlights from the Premier about updated Regulations include:
- All passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, travelling to and from the Sister Islands are required to receive a negative result on a certified LFT or PCR before travel. The update is in response to the high numbers of positive cases seen recently in the Sister Islands.
- These new regulations will ease travel restrictions for children, allowing children who are travelling to take the vaccination status of their accompanying adult. Quarantine times for all travellers currently required to do so are decreased.
- Moving to Phase 5 will:
- Apply to everyone – visitors and residents/Caymanians.
- Children ages 0-11 will take on the vaccination status of the adult they are travelling with.
- Children 0-4 will not have to do testing.
- Children 5-11 will have the same testing regime as adults.
- Isolation measures will decrease for:
- all non-securely verified passengers who are travelling from a country with less than 60% vaccination rates from 10 days to seven days and
- all unvaccinated travellers from 14 days to 10 days.
- Travellers in quarantine may exit via a certified LFT test and not a PCR test after being contacted by Travel Cayman.
- Vaccinated occupants of a residence where a traveller is allowed to quarantine will not be required to quarantine.
For the full new regulations that came into effect today, see Control of Covid-19 (Travel) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/13140609.PDF and Control and Management of Covid-19 (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/13140607.PDF
Minister for Health and Wellness highlighted:
- Those in quarantine are not free to leave home until they have received a negative result. They should follow the simple procedures and not self-release. It is a violation of the regulations to do so and they may face prosecution.
- The isolation exit testing clinics will resume at 10am – 12pm at Bodden Town Civic Centre & Ed Bush Sports Complex in addition to the South Sound Community Centre to give the public more access and options.
- HSA has now made PCR testing for travel or other voluntary screenings more affordable by decreasing the price to $75, certified LFT testing is priced at $25.
- On Tuesday, HSA launched an LFT online booking system allowing persons to make appointments as well as pay online. This new service will allow persons to pre-register for testing, therefore allowing them to move through the process faster. These can be booked at www.hsa.ky/appointment.
Highlights from Minister for Tourism and Transport:
- The Cayman Islands prides itself on being a family friendly travel destination and the move to Phase 5 means that families with children can now make plans to visit the Cayman Islands even if their children are unvaccinated.
- He confirmed the return in February of:
- United Airline services from Chicago, Houston, Washington and Newark, New Jersey.
- American Airlines service from Miami,
- And Cayman Airways service from Denver, Colorado; and
- In March, the return of:
- Delta services from Atlanta,
- Southwest service from Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore,
- And American Airlines service from Charlotte, North Carolina.
- In light of COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships and while safety protocols are being re-assessed, Government has prudently decided that cruise ships will not be permitted to return to Cayman for the immediate future.
- The fourth, brand new, 737-8 jet aircraft arrived today and is part of Cayman Airways fleet modernisation plan. Thenational airline now has the distinction of having the newest jet fleet in the whole of the Caribbean. The new aircraft offers 30% more seating capacity and has significantly lower operating costs than the previous 737-300s which have now been retired from service. With the new jets, Cayman Airways has the ability to fly further into North and South America, allowing the airline to play a major role in the government’s plans to strategically grow the tourism industry.