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COVID-19 FAQs: Travel & Tourism

Cayman Islands Travel & Tourism F.A.Qs

This section covers questions relating to travel and tourism in regards to COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands. Click the links below to skip to the relevant questions or scroll down to read more:

Questions About Leaving or Returning to the Cayman Islands
  1. Are airports closed in the Cayman Islands?
  2. What do I do if I need to travel while the airport is closed?
  3. What do I do if I am a visitor whose permission to remain in the Cayman Islands expires soon?
  4. What assistance is available if I am currently outside of the Cayman Islands?
  5. I am a Caymanian studying abroad and my passport has expired or is not in my possession and I want to return home. What do I do?
  6. I recently travelled to a country that has cases of COVID-19. What should I do?
  7. I’ve been travelling and don’t have supplies at home. How should I go about getting them?
  8. I am caring for someone who has travelled from an affected area or has had direct contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19. What should I do?
  9. What arrangements are in place for visitors with COVID-19?
  10. How does the Cayman Islands Government decide what countries are restricted?
  11. Are cruise ships banned from the Cayman Islands?
  12. How are cruise ships screened for health when it comes to COVID-19?
  13. What additional screening measures are taking place at the port?
  14. I was planning to go on holiday soon. Can I still go?
  15. When is the next British Airways repatriation flight?
  16. When are the next Cayman Airways repatriation flights?
  17. Where can I get the most up-to-date travel advice?

 

Are airports closed in the Cayman Islands?

Ensuring minimum impact of the COVID-19 virus on the Cayman Islands is the highest priority for the Cayman Islands Government, and this includes consideration on when borders will re-open.

All airports in the Cayman Islands - Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman, Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman Airport - will remain closed to international leisure and non-essential travel until at least 1 October 2020, according to decisions taken by Cabinet. Official decisions regarding border opening continue to be reviewed by the Cayman Islands Government and further decisions will be announced as available. 

Airports in the Cayman Islands were first closed at 11:59pm on Sunday, 22 March 2020.

TravelTime has been launched to offer advice and assistance to persons with an urgent and compassionate need to travel during the airport closure. If you need to travel to or from the Cayman Islands, please use our online TravelTime form to submit your information.

As of Sunday, 5 July, all persons wishing to travel by air between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands may do so, but must notify the Medical Officer of Health of the proposed travel at least 48 hours prior to traveling and be tested for the COVID-19 virus. Persons will only be permitted to travel after the test has been declared negative by the Medical Officer of Health and must be transported to the airport for boarding immediately after receiving the results and by a person assigned by the Medical Officer of Health.

Only persons providing essential services or transporting freight may travel by boat between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.

Cargo and courier flights are unaffected by this temporary airport closure and air ambulances will also be allowed to operate as normal.

Chartered flights may carry international passengers with an urgent or compassionate need to travel under strict requirements, including mandatory isolation at a Government-provided facility for Caymanians and residents returning to the Cayman Islands. 


What do I do if I need to travel while the airport is closed?

There are no restrictions on outbound travel from the Cayman Islands but non-essential travel is strongly discouraged. If you plan to return, options are limited and your stay overseas may be longer than anticipated.

If you are experiencing hardship and need to leave the islands on board a repatriation flight you are encouraged to fill out the TravelTime Application Form for further guidance. 

 

If you are looking to travel inbound on board a repatriation flight you must also register your travel request with TravelTime, and complete the online application form in order to receive pre-travel approval. Travellers who do not complete this process will not be permitted to board a repatriation flight. If you have question regarding travel you can contact TravelTime by emailing traveltime@gov.ky or by calling 649-6913 between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.

Caymanians in the UK looking to return to Cayman should contact +44 0207 491 7772 or email info@cigouk.ky.

 

 

What do I do if I am a visitor whose permission to remain in the Cayman Islands expires soon?

All visitors were encouraged to depart the Cayman Islands before the airports closed to international passengers at 11:59 pm on 22 March 2020.

Visitors whose permission to remain in the Islands has expired are not required to submit a Visitor Extension Application. Visitors will not have to present themselves to a Customs and Border Control Officer and no action will be taken for permission that expires between those dates.

An Overstayer Amnesty has been implemented for persons who have overstayed their time in the Islands. The amnesty seeks to remove ‘fear of prosecution’ as a potential barrier to making urgent arrangements for departure from the Islands via special evacuation flights or other airlift coordinated opportunities.

All visitors in the Cayman Islands are encouraged to fill out the TravelTime Form and make arrangements to return to their home country.

 

What assistance is available if I am currently outside of the Cayman Islands?

British Overseas Territories citizens will be provided the same help from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) when travelling outside the Overseas Territories as they would do to any other British national.

You can also reach out to the Cayman Islands Government Office in the United Kingdom (CIGOUK), which is providing general advice, guidance and updates for Caymanians in the UK. The CIGOUK is working closely with Cayman Connection UK in order to not only disseminate messages and to ensure Caymanians know where they can go for information and support, but also to develop a virtual community of support and togetherness during this time of restricted physical gathering.

Caymanians who are currently abroad and have an urgent need to travel to the Cayman Islands should fill out the TravelTime Form. Caymanians in the UK looking to return to Cayman should also fill out the TravelTime Form 

Mandatory self-isolation for all travellers into the Cayman Islands and their households for 14 days upon arrival in GCM will apply.


I am a Caymanian studying abroad and my passport has expired or is not in my possession and I want to return home. What do I do?

Customs & Border Control will issue a travel authorisation letter to the relevant carrier confirming the passenger’s details and authorising travel to the Cayman Islands.

If you are a Caymanian student studying abroad and are in this situation contact one of the below Customs & Border Control officers.

 

I recently travelled to a country that has cases of COVID-19. What should I do?

All arriving passengers and their households are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the Cayman Islands effective 16 March. Persons who arrived prior to that date are strongly encouraged to self-isolate as well.

Do not go to a hospital, clinic or pharmacy. Remain at home unless you require emergency medical care. Arriving passengers who have symptoms consistent with any respiratory illness should seek advice and share their travel history with their healthcare provider, even if arriving from countries which have few or no recorded cases of COVID-19 at the time of travel.

See our COVID-19 FAQs above to learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if you suspect you may have COVID-19.

 

I’ve been travelling and don’t have supplies at home. How should I go about getting them?

Families are encouraged to have a plan and identify someone to bring groceries to them when isolated. The Department of Children & Family Services will have a team to provide assistance with persons who do not have support structures. Public Health may be able to arrange assistance if you need urgent help and cannot access help from friends or family members. 

 

I am caring for someone who has travelled from an affected area or has had direct contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19. What should I do?

All international passengers arriving in the Cayman Islands and their households are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. This includes residents. Learn more about self-isolation in our COVID-19 Self-Isolation FAQs.

As a precaution, you should practice good hygiene and preventative measures. These include frequently washing your hands and making sure the person you are caring for frequently washes their hands.

If you are the carer of someone with confirmed COVID-19 the Public Health Department will contact you as part of their contact tracing and provide guidance.

If the person you care for has had a test for COVID-19 and is awaiting a result, follow the advice given by the Public Health Department.

Everyone is reminded to follow the Public Health Department advice:

  • always carry tissues with you and use them to catch a cough or sneeze, then bin the tissue and wash your hands with soap and water
  • if you do not have a tissue use the cook of your elbow and NOT your hands
  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • avoid close contact with people who are showing respiratory symptoms
  • always wash your hands before caring, washing or feeding the sick or elderly


What arrangements are in place for visitors with COVID-19?

All arriving passengers, including visitors, are required to self-isolate for 14 days effective 16 March 2020.

Plans have been in place for visitors with a travel history to an affected country or area who arrived displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to be quarantined at a shelter on island (or in their hotel, if possible) and provided medical assistance until they recover. Provisions are in place to provide food and drink, toiletries and internet access to maintain contact with friends and family.

All arriving passengers who have symptoms consistent with any respiratory illness should seek advice and share their travel history with their healthcare provider, even if arriving from countries which have few or no recorded cases of COVID-19 at this time of travel.


How does the Cayman Islands Government decide what countries are restricted?

The decision is based on the risk posed to the Cayman Islands population. This is different than the risk posed to, for example, a larger country with more varied resources and geographical spread.

The decision is taken outside of the Public Health Law; the Law is the vehicle to making it happen. The decision is taken by Cabinet in discussion with the Chief Medical Officer and the Ministry of Health. The intention is to reduce the number of persons potentially exposed by those arriving to the Cayman islands.

 

Are cruise ships banned from the Cayman Islands?

Yes. Seaports remain shut for visitors and returning residents, according to decisions taken by Cabinet. Exceptions will continue to be made for essential services, health emergencies and to accommodate emergency evacuations organised by the Governor's Office.

 

How are cruise ships screened for health when it comes to COVID-19?

As of 16 March 2020 all cruise ships were denied entry to the Cayman Islands for an initial period of 60 days. Cabinet have extended this ban for a further temporary period, until 31 August 2020 at 11:59pm.

On Friday 7 August 2020, Cayman Islands Government announced extending border closure for a further 30 days until 1 October. Read more

Generally, cruise ships have some pretty stringent procedures in place to prevent the spread of viruses such as the COVID-19 virus. If it does occur on board the ship it is contained and the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands is also notified before the ship arrives.

Before any passenger is allowed to board the ship they are screened. If they have been through places that have been affected by COVID-19 they are not allowed to sail. If they have been in contact with people who may have been impacted they are also not allowed to sail. If they have symptoms they are not allowed to sail -- and not just them but everyone who is in their party.

It's in cruise ship companies' interest to keep their ships disease free because with the fear that goes around with COVID-19, this is potentially harmful to their business.

In the Cayman Islands we have long established practices that we have followed from the days of the norovirus, SARS and Ebola, and swine flu. Before the ships get to Cayman they have to file a maritime declaration of health with use that is reviewed by Public Health. If there's any infectious diseases at all, whether that's SARS, swine flue or regular flu or COVID-19, that information is on that maritime declaration of health. This declaration is vetted by Public Health and a decision is made whether or not we can allow the ship to disembark and isolate those passengers or whether we don't take the ship at all.


What additional screening measures are taking place at the port?

As of 16 March 2020 all cruise ships will be denied entry to the Cayman Islands for an initial period of 60 days.

Generally, the cruise lines pre-screen all passengers to determine whether they have been to, or passed through, areas impacted by any infectious disease. This includes, for example, whether they have been in close contact with any persons who may have contracted or been exposed to an infectious condition prior to the cruise. If they are found to be a potential risk, they and their travel companions are not allowed to travel.

 

I was planning to go on holiday soon. Can I still go?

Cabinet advises that the public should avoid all but essential travel until there is a measurable change in the global situation. If you must travel, be sure to check the most recent travel advice for the location.

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

You should also keep in mind that airports and ports in the Cayman Islands are currently closed to departing and arriving international passengers.

 

When is the next British Airways repatriation flight?


The Governor’s Office has confirmed that a British Airways flight will leave the Cayman Islands for London, Gatwick on 28 August, which is mainly for students and their parents. The Governor’s Office is also in advanced discussions with British Airways to introduce a regular fortnightly service to London, Gatwick and further details will be published as soon as they become available.

 

 

When are the next Cayman Airways repatriation flights?

As of Friday 7 August, Cayman Airways will be operating a series of repatriation flights to Miami, USA; Kingston, Jamaica and Le Ceiba, Honduras which are scheduled to depart the Cayman Islands on dates listed below:

 

Miami, USA:

September 1, 4, 11, 18 and 25

 

Kingston, Jamaica:

September 2, 16 and 30

 

Le Ceiba, Honduras:

August 19 and September 23

 

Booking Process:

Persons wishing to travel outbound on the repatriation flights to Miami or Kingston can book seats directly with Cayman Airways by calling 345-949-2311, 1800-422-9626 (toll free in the USA), or in Jamaica call 876-613-9105 or 866-759-1372(toll free in Jamaica). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.caymanairways.com

 

 

Where can I get the most up-to-date travel advice?


The Ministry of Health advises the public to follow the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) at https://gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus. If you're planning to travel abroad, you should also check the country by country travel advice at https://gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Specific travel advice may also be issued here on http://www.gov.ky/coronavirus 

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. Cabinet also advises that the public should avoid all but essential travel until there is a measurable change in the global situation.

 

Learn More About Travel & Tourism

If you are a traveller to the Cayman Islands who needs to leave, fill out our TravelTime Application Form.

 

Still have Questions?

For tourism related questions please contact Visit Cayman Islands

 

Tags: FAQs, Travel

Cayman Islands Government, Government Admin Building, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Tel: 345 949 7900

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