Premier eyes March reopening

Cayman will be rolling out a mass inoculation campaign starting early January once COVID-19 vaccines arrive on local shores, Premier Alden McLaughlin said on 10 Dec. He pledged to be among the first to take the jab.

Speaking in Parliament, McLaughlin said based on the planned roll-out of vaccines and how well government is able to convince the population to get vaccinated, government would be in a position to feel secure about opening local borders by March.

“Because by then we would have had enough of our people inoculated to create the oft-talked-about herd immunity which will protect the entire community,” he said, adding that all of this remains contingent on the public’s participation in the vaccination exercise. This as McLaughlin responded to questions from Opposition Leader Arden McLean following his statement.

As he unveiled his national plan, which has been approved by Cabinet, McLaughlin said priority will be given to those over 60 years old, and people who have certain defined conditions and diseases that make them more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.

“And while I am not yet in those ranks, I will say that I will be one of the first in line to take the vaccine to lead by example and to demonstrate my confidence in the safety of the vaccine,” he said.

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The vaccine will greatly reduce the chances of getting COVID-19, and “the potential severity of the illness if we should contract it, but nothing is guaranteed”, he said.

The first BA flight is expected on 5 Jan.

Governor Martyn Roper, in post on his official Facebook page following the premier’s statement, said, “there will be enough to vaccinate many thousands of people initially and once we have shown that logistics here work and that the vaccine can be rolled out effectively, the UK will send far more – relatively quickly after the first batch.”

He also added that he is willing to take the vaccine as soon as he is invited to do so.
“I encourage everyone to do the same. In this way we can protect our population and get back to normal life,” Roper added.

Staged roll-out planned

While McLaughlin said he could not provide an exact arrival date, he said he expects doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to arrive here within the first week of January.

“We anticipate receiving a sufficient number of vaccines in the first batch to immunise several thousand people. Additionally, government has contracted with the coronavirus COVAX facility organised by the international vaccines agency, Gavi, to provide further vaccines.

Who gets vaccine first?

  1. Healthcare workers and institutional residents
  2. Frontline customer-facing staff working at ports
  3. People over age 60, and those suffering from conditions putting them at increased risk
  4. Essential government workers


  1. Essential service workers, teachers and school staff
  2. Those living in the households of anyone from the stage one vaccination programme


  1. The remainder of the population

The premier said the vaccines will be provided by the United Kingdom and will be free.

He stressed inoculation will be voluntary but he encouraged the public to do their to do due diligence, and to keep their minds open to the benefits that participation will offer.

“It is an opportunity for us, as individuals, to take action to protect this community that we love so much, and which has done so much for us, while at the same time we protect ourselves,” he said.

The vaccinations will be rolled out in stages, McLaughlin said, and Cayman will be in a position to deliver 3,000 doses per week based on current resources.

“Once the vaccine arrives on island, a number of groups have been prioritised for the voluntary vaccination,” he said.

These groups include healthcare workers and institutional residents to reduce the risk of spreading COVID between care givers and those they care for, and protects those that are not able to physically distance.

Another priority group comprises frontline customer-facing staff working at ports who are constantly exposed to the risks from travellers as well as those over 60 years old.

Those suffering from conditions that put them at increased risk if they were to contract COVID-19 and workers who are essential for the continuity of government services will also be vaccinated as part of stage one.

The second stage of the plan, he said, will include essential workers, teachers and school staff and those living in the households of anyone who was vaccinated in stage one.
The final stage of the vaccination programme will consist of vaccinating the remainder of the population.

New travel protocols to follow vaccination
The premier, in his statement, said the Ministry of Health has proposed the further opening of borders after stage two, which is expected to be around one month after the start of the vaccination programme.

Changes in restrictions for those arriving from overseas will include proof of vaccination.

“This should have been completed before arrival, according to recommendations by the Public Health Department,” McLaughlin said. “They must also receive negative results from a PCR test upon arrival. Persons who meet these conditions will be exempted from quarantine, if living in households where the other residents have also received a vaccine.”

All people who are exempted under these conditions and their household members, the premier said, will undergo repeat testing on day five, day 10 and day 15 following their arrival date.

Regular PCR screening will continue with safety restrictions for healthcare workers, healthcare establishments, nursing homes and prisons.

McLaughlin also introduced a new requirement for regular COVID-19 testing for tourism workers, including restaurateurs, taxi drivers, and those hosting travellers.

Rapid testing may also be used to provide simpler access to testing for COVID-19, he said.

McLaughlin acknowledged that the plan and initiatives may raise concerns about a possible spike in cases.

However, he said government will remain vigilant throughout the roll-out, the proposed travel changes, and their impact on the community.

“Should there be an indication of substantial and worrisome community transmission of COVID-19 cases in the Cayman Islands, or if we were required to move up a suppression level, preventive measures will be promptly tightened through Public Health regulations, as they have been in the past. If this happens, we will see a return to the wearing of masks in public places, physical distancing and the use of protective barriers to minimise further spread of the COVID-19 disease,” he said.

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Important and helpful travel information I wanted to share with friends and clients

It was announced today, Thursday 15 October 2020, that there will be key changes to the inbound travel process to the Cayman Islands.
Travellers are now able to book repatriation flights directly with the approved airline carriers: Cayman Airways and British Airways. Although Travel Cayman approval is still required prior to entering the Cayman Islands, this will remove the requirement for travellers to seek entry approval before purchasing a ticket to fly from La Ceiba, Honduras; Kingston, Jamaica; or Miami, Florida.

The Travel Cayman management team’s pivotal role is to ensure that quarantine options are managed in relation to inbound travel and the availability of government, private and quarantine at residence options. This also determines the supply of monitoring technology to travellers who require them for safe quarantine protocol.

Applications are prioritized weekly, based on the coming week's number of travellers, and flight clearances. The public are asked not to call or email unless they are traveling to the Cayman Islands in October. Travellers to the Cayman Islands in October need not reapply.

Of key note, some airlines are offering flights to the Cayman Islands and accepting future booking but only Cayman Airways and British Airways have permission to offer repatriation flights for approved travellers.


Eligibility to enter


Flights to the Cayman Islands are repatriation flights only and at this time are not available to short-term vacationers, as all persons entering are required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine with a further COVID-19 PCR test on day 15.
Inbound travel is currently limited to the following persons:

  • Caymanians,
  • Permanent residents,
  • Work permit holders and their families,
  • Persons who own residential property in the Cayman Islands,
  • Students with a valid visa to study in the Cayman Islands,
  • Persons with close family ties to residents or work permit holders - spouses, fiancés, parents, grandparents and siblings.

New portal in development


A new online portal is in development which will reduce the need to call and email the Travel Cayman team. The new portal will be launched in the coming days allowing travellers to select quarantine arrangements and submit travel plans online, removing the need for manual responses to each query.



3 choices of quarantine options


Traveller arrival will be subject to the same quarantine arrangements and persons will have a choice of 3 quarantine options.

  1. Quarantine at a Government-Run Facility: This option is available to Caymanians and those with Permanent Residency.
  2. Quarantine at a Privately-Run Hotel: If you wish to quarantine at any of these facilities, please contact the facility directly. Once booked, provide Travel Cayman with your reservation number to complete the processing of the application for travel to the Cayman Islands.
  3. Quarantine at Residence: The private residence can be the traveller’s home or private residence. This cannot be a shared dwelling. Travellers who agree to the Quarantine at Residence programme, must agree to: wear an iMSafe smart wristband; and undergo COVID-19 testing on arrival at the Owen Roberts International Airport and again on day 15; and remain in isolation for a minimum of 14 days. A day 15 negative test result, sign-off by the Medical Officer of Health and off-boarding by the Mobile Compliance Team will be required in order for the quarantine period to cease. The off-boarding process includes inspection and collection of the smart wrist band and retrieval of the mobile device.

Quarantine at residence criteria


At this time, October inbound flights are fully booked and availability of quarantine choices has been taken into consideration. The choice of quarantine location is granted if the accommodation meets the following standards:

  • Access to running water and electricity.
  • Access to bathroom facilities that are in good working order and are not shared with persons outside of the quarantining group, and provide a shower/bath, toilet and sink and a supply of hot and cold water.
  • Access to kitchen facilities that are not shared with any persons outside the quarantining group, with access to hot and cold water.
  • Adequate ventilation, with a window(s) that can be opened to allow fresh air to circulate.
  • Where there is A/C, there is a self-contained air-handling system, which ensures that units do not circulate air to other residences.
  • Access to either curb-side pickup for garbage or a central garbage. 
  • Access for the delivery of foods and medications.
  • Access by the Mobile Compliance Team to conduct random checks over the period of quarantine.

The majority of property inspections are completed by the mobile compliance team on behalf of the Medical Officer of Health. In most cases assessments can be made without entry to the property, and if access is required property owners will be contacted for entry.
Persons who are neither Caymanians nor Permanent Residents and do not have a private residence to quarantine in, or whose private residence is not approved will need to book a private facility for quarantine. 


November inbound process


Travellers may book flights directly with Cayman Airways for November. For British Airways flights travellers may book directly with British Airways for the approved repatriation flights scheduled on 12 and 26 November 2020.
Travellers may apply for quarantine arrangements via the Travel Cayman portal.
Travellers who have already applied for November arrival are asked to reapply in order to select quarantine options. The public has been asked to wait to apply for quarantine arrangements until the new portal has been launched.


December inbound process


The Cayman Islands Government is currently working with Cayman Airways and British Airways to establish the level of demand and quarantine arrangements required for December. Government continues to caution residents that travel should be limited to essential or medical needs only. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, border decisions will continue to be evaluated and processes are subject to change.

For the latest travel information visit

Travel Cayman contact details: Email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Call +1 345 743 8463 or 649-6913. Phone lines are open 8.30am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.


The last half of 2019 was strong and provided a continued positive outlook in Cayman. The development activity on Grand Cayman was as active as it has ever been. Rising prices continued, but sales slowed somewhat as a result of that, plus the increasing supply of Residential Real Estate inventory. The latter half of 2019 showed a decline in # of sales by 4.5%. and dollar volume by 14%. In fact, decreases occurred in all Residential sectors except single family homes, but we must remember that this was only relative to 2018 which was a boom year. In other words, everybody was busy which was good for business overall in Cayman. And some of the more outlying areas of Grand Cayman showed increasing activity as did the Sister Islands. The first month or two of 2020 was a continuation of 2019 ie. strong tourism figures with local businesses doing well. Presales of Luxury Condos on 7 Mile continued apace with WaterMark up to 70%, and Hyatt at 40% SOLD.


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It is 9 am on a Saturday morning at Hurley’s supermarket in Grand Cayman and there is no hint of “business as usual”. Members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service are manning the supermarket entrance, while security guards spray shoppers’ hands with antibacterial fluid. Winding dividers direct hundreds of compliant shoppers who file through electric doors, every several minutes and at least six feet apart.

Caymanians are restocking on supplies after having just emerged from a “hard curfew”. No one other than “essential workers” have been allowed outside of the boundaries of their homes— not even to take a run or walk a dog— and supermarkets, pharmacies and a handful of essential businesses are the only signs of commercial activity.

But Cayman’s Premier, the Honourable Alden McLaughlin, has a reason to be proud. With just 8 cases of COVID-19 and one death, there have been no confirmed instances of community transmission in the Cayman Islands— all positive cases have been connected to travellers.

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